By Matthew Lau
“There is no refugee crisis, only a human crisis” – Ai Weiwei.
Human Flow is a feature documentary directed by controversial activist Ai Weiwei, who tackles one of the most significant issues of our times.
Filming took place over the span of one year in 23 countries, focusing on the people caught up in the current refugee crisis.
Internationally-renowned Chinese conceptual artist Weiwei is a prominent advocate for basic human rights.
Needless to say, this movie documentary is not the faint-hearted. On reflection, the viewing of it will make your personal problems and worries seem miniscule in comparison.
The opening scene begins with a beautiful drone-shot overhead view of a dove flying over tranquil waters. The calmness is brief, as a boat draws into shore carrying migrants in despair.
The film jumps from one country to another across four continents, with dynamic shots of war-torn villages throughout Iraq and poignant images of victims. A picture truly tells a thousand words.
Weiwei wastes no time using a vast range of imagery and interviews to get up close to highlight the fact that the refugee crisis is a worldwide epidemic that is happening every day.
The reality is that it is all very real – and it is happening to children and babies, which is heart-breaking to witness.
“We are humans too,” one victim said, in an attempt to retain some sense of dignity.
Humans. People who have lost their basic rights of humanity, the things we often take for granted.
People sleep in tents next to busy train tracks, because they don’t have a home. Warmth and food is considered a bonus.
These people have lost everything and are usually fleeing from war in desperate situations.
It is an eye-opener of how human lives are robbed of being not only tolerable, but meaningful in many ways.
There is no clear beginning, middle or end to this movie. Which is relevant as their situation is ongoing with no clear light at the end of the tunnel.
However, at 140 minutes in length, it is at times difficult to follow.
Fact: Refugees worldwide spend on average 26 years away from their home.
This is no fiction horror story, this is real life.
Human Flow is rated M as it contains mature themes.