Film Review: Europa

Kamal running

The ‘migrant crisis’ has highlighted the privileged position those of us living within the borders of Europe really have. Every person making this dangerous and potentially deadly journey has their own story, but the lasting impacts of colonialism and Western interference (or inaction) usually play some role. People fleeing war, famine, corruption and oppression are literally taking their lives into their own hands. Each of the main migration routes (Western Africa, Mediterranean and Western Balkans) contains its own set of perils. Europa follows one man’s journey.

Kamal (Adam Ali) has fled persecution in Iraq, hopeful of a better life in Europe. He’s been smuggled across the border into Turkey via the Balkan route, desperately trying to cross into Bulgaria. When the group are confronted by one of the local militias, he has no option but to run for his life. Tired, hungry and disorientated, Kamal must attempt to evade his pursuers while finding his way in a strange and confusing landscape.

Europa’s aim is to highlight the plight of those seeking safe haven and give the audience an idea of what it must be like to make this journey. Haider Rashid’s film is successful on both counts. The camera sticks to Kamal, tracking his relentless, confusing and terrifying flight. Capturing the desperation and suffering thanks to an impressive central performance from Ali. Europa draws you into to the plight of someone who will do anything to survive but struggles to maintain his humanity.   

Europa is available in cinemas and on demand from 18 March.

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