August 2015. Images of “refugee kids” happily accepting bananas. Merkel taking selfies with Syrians. Signs announcing: “No one is illegal. Refugees welcome! “January 2016. Cologne happens. Paris is still horridly present. “Refugee waves” roll towards Europe. The sound changes. Welcome culture becomes upper limits. Then little by little it becomes more and more silent around those people who were forced to leave their home and look for a new one.
2018. Mohadese, Faruk and Omar live in Graz. Unlike most citizens, they have an escape behind them. Ahead of them, however, they look and long for something we all do: good education and work, fulfilling time with loved ones, chances and opportunities, a future in freedom,…
“Formerly man had only a body and a soul. Now he needs a passport as well for without it he will not be treated like a human being.” (Stefan Zweig)
Who am I? What is home? “Exile” accompanies Mohadese, Faruk and Omar on their way to create new homes in Graz, to find common ground, without losing themselves. Often the trail is rocky. Their struggle continues on the safe side of the border – even without media coverage. The past is guide for their future while the camera rests in the present. And this is full of hope.
The right to life, security and protection is one of the key points of the Universal declaration of Human rights, and while only a couple of years ago, at least here in Europe, it appeared to be a certain, self-evident and universal right we proudly defended, today, due to ongoing events in politics and the collective life, we suddenly feel the need to once again remind whoever can hear us, of these fundamental rights that regard everyone independently from his or her background, culture and origin. We feel the need to talk again about humanity and therefore about human beings, reason, emotions and personalities.
The declaration of Human rights, in fact, does not reach its conclusions with the protection of life and security, but emphasizes the universal right to freedom and specifically reaches the point of the right to free development of one’s personality.
At the peak of the so called refugee crisis and contemporary migration movements, it is important to remember, that it is not enough for the human spirit to have a roof over its head, but it needs to evolve, learn and make a contribution to the society it belongs to. The creation of a home and the feeling of belonging are essential for the development of a personality within a society, which has the duty to give its citizens the possibility to learn and develop according to their potential.
Exiles tells the story of three young adults, who try to find themselves and make something of themselves in a society which is not “theirs”, where they still need to learn and improve the basics – as the language – and where they are often told to be happy to just be “safe”. But in order to become a Home the exile needs to cease to be about surviving, and rather needs to be about searching, becoming and belonging. In order to become a home, the exile needs to cease to be an exile.
Exiles wants to open a dialogue to what it means to start completely from anew. With the re-elaboration of the term “exile”, that is independent from nations or historical ages, we want to look at the ongoing events from a different angle, and we want to give voice to the new young Austrian citizens, who decided to participate in the film.
Nations and borders arose through wars, people through the transmission and development of culture and way of lives, and culture through communication and exchange.
Communities however are built through reciprocal understanding, an open mind for the way and opinion of the others, and respect.