The migrant crisis isn’t something which can be easily solved by throwing money at the situation or simply opening up borders. It’s a complex and incredibly emotive issue which is a consequence of hundreds of years of (largely Colonial) history. Film makers have approached the subject from many angles; a wide spectrum which includes straight forward documentary and magic realism. Wolfgang Fischer takes a thoughtful approach in his new film Styx.
Rike (Susanne Wolff) is a German doctor working in Europe. Whilst performing her duties as an overworked emergency doctor, she dreams of escaping it all. These fantasies come true when she casts off from Gibraltar to sail solo to the Ascension Islands. An Atlantic storm threatens her plans and when it subsides Rike finds herself close to a stricken boat which is overpopulated with refugees. She finds herself with an almost impossible choice to make.
Styx is a film which steadfastly avoids sailing into over-familiar waters or floundering in cliché or hyperbole. Wolff is quietly powerful as the lead. Stuck with a decision she doesn’t want to make, Rike must weigh her conscience and natural propensity to help against her desire to follow the rules. What it all boils down to is the migrant crisis in a microcosm. Styx tackles much bigger issues by focusing on a choice no one should have to make.
Styx is out in cinemas from 26 April.