JOURNEY OF HOPE
Director: XAVIER KOLLER
Country: Switzerland/Turkey 1992
Super Point: Music Produced by Manfred Eicher from his ECM jazz label archives, with various songs from Terje Rypdal, Jan Garbarek, Shankar, and others.
One of the saddest, yet, one of the most poetic films I have seen.
It is a political film, which deplores the system to which many people are attached, and the fact that there isn't much which can really be done about it all, ... what some of us will do for a chance at a piece of a dream.
For south/central Americans, the dream land is America. For the many Kurdish peoples stranded, and stuck in the middle of three hostile countries, the dream land is either Germany or Switzerland, the richest countries in Europe. The price they pay to get to one of those places, is anything they can. The sad part of it all, is that so few of them actually succeed, and their lives are ruined, forever, with or without their family.
A Kurdish farmer makes a decision to get rid of his farm, and go for the dream land. He has received a letter from his cousin in Germany, who will soon get a job in a factory which has promised to hire him. He takes his wife and one of his seven children (the oldest, a boy) with him, and the travels begin.
By the time his travels end, the film stops, leaving us to guess what, and how it will eventually turn out. All said and done, there was a cousin, or a relative of some sort who didn't really exist, and the letter was fabricated the farmer had some money) with the intent of having the money taken away by someone,... unclear whether it is 'mafia' like connections or simple people who prey on the misguided ones. Once the 'vision' of success and future have been aroused, there is little anyone can do for this man. He is gone.
He travels through Italy, with a fake passport, and goes through various places until he gets to the high Alps, the pass into Switzerland. Here,
the people who have brought them this far are having problems agreeing with each other, and the crowd has to peddle their way on foot, in the snow, in the night, to get to 'freedom'.
I'll leave the rest to you.
It's the plight of all immigrants, and if you went to school in southern California like I did, and worked part time in restaurants to pay for the
books and buses like I did, you found out that half of the dishwashers are Mexican and also very illegal. The same thing happens in Texas and New Mexico. They go through the same process, although, they have succeeded where 75% of them have failed. They know it. But the others don't. I even knew people who every once in a while would bring in one or two for a thousand dollars each ( I couldn't prove it, though the person drove a Cadillac and the border guards don't check out rich looking American blondes driving Cads ) and a few Mexicans who told me how much they paid, which they are usually told to keep secret or their friends and families will never come, for the privilege to come to this country. Believe you me, when all you have is hell, you will pay the price for a piece, even if a taste, of real freedom.
It's worth it . And hopefully something will work out in the future.
Funny what people will do for a dream, isn't it???
This film has incredible music. If you like European style jazz, listen to Norwegian TERJE Rydal's music ( from EOS ) and Swede JAN GARBAREK's music ( from EVENTYR ) all over this film. It makes the mood of the film so rich in quality, that it is a bit overbearing. The cinematography, combined with this music, is really something to behold, and probably the main reason why this film won the OSCAR as the best foreign film of last year. I think all actors are Kurdish, and the director is a Kurd, who had a student visa to get to Europe,... which means he is from a better to do family.
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