Film Review: Tori and Lokita

Immigration is a perennial headline grabber in European countries. The migrant crisis tends to get people overly exercised and is used by many to fuel intolerance, hatred and racism. Most of Europe has benefited from colonialism in one way or another. Whether that’s economically or through the movement of labour. The slatter through slavery and then modern skill drains. In Tori and Lokita, two friends just want to be able to start a new life.

Teenager Tori has already got his papers and permission to stay in Belgium. His ‘sister’ Lokita (Joely Mbundu) is desperate to get hers. However, as she goes through the legal process, she is struggling to hold her story together. They work for a chef (Alban Ukaj), selling drugs so she can pay off smugglers and earn enough money to send home to Benin.

Tori and Lokita highlights a number of issues asylum seekers go through, whether they’re seeking a safe haven or just looking for a better life. By now, we know what to expect from the Dardenne brothers, and the double Palme d’Or winners don’t disappoint. They conjure great performances from their two leads, who bestow an authenticity on Tori and Lokita. Another timely reminder that we are all just humans with no control over the circumstances we are born into.  

Tori and Lokita is out in cinemas on 2 December.

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