Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow Is a Solemn Look at the Refugee Crisis Across 23 Countries

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Artist Ai Weiwei is capturing the “staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact” in his new film Human Flow, which looks all different stories and journeys from the 65 million people around the world who have “been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II.”

Filmed across 23 countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey, the documentary promises to be a powerful and heartbreaking look at ways in which refugees are made vulnerable in the cruelest way. As we can see from the trailer, Human Flow will go not only into the personal tragedies that happen as a result of that displacement, but also the ways it fosters exploitation and radicalization.

The documentary is clearly aware of its painful resonance with the current moment as places like the U.S., where many like Trump deny refugees opportunity by painting them as threatening and violent. It calls on countries to open their doors to refugees who denied everything from a legal identity to health care and even, as the UN Refugee Agency solemnly puts, “even the dignity of an official burial and a death certification when they die.”

The synopsis reads:

“Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?”

The film opens in select theaters October 13th.

(via Indiewire, image: screencap)

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