Europe is represented by a teacher who drags his class of refugees down into his despair. A plea that borders on the immoral; a welcome charged with a guilt complex; and the compromise between these, made policy: STRANGER IN PARADISE is an unflinching film essay on the mechanisms through which Europe tackles the refugees’ desire for happiness.
It started in May 2013, with a visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa. There, I met some of the migrants who have landed up there, their hopeful dreams for the future seeming to clash with a Europe that has little to offer them. The power relation I filtered from this personal experience - how the lucky ones treat the desire for luck in others - kept me busy.
I wanted to make the power relationship I observed from a distance (and then later, during the research phase, up close) not so much visible, as feelable, by holding up a mirror for the audience, the refugees and myself. A reflective account on what we in Europe named ‘the refugee crisis’. Since I think it’s not a bad thing to first look at ourselves before we try to represent the suffering of the other.
STRANGER IN PARADISE, which opened IDFA 2016, is his feature debut.
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Guido Hendrikx
Written by: Guido Hendrikx
Produced by: Frank van den Engel
Cinematography: Emo Weemhoff
Original Score: Juho Nurmela, Ella van der Woude
Sound Design: Tijn Hazen
Main Cast: Valentijn Dhaenens (Europe)
Nominations and Awards
- European Documentary 2017
- EFA Documentary Selection 2017