Amanda Bailly’s film 8 Borders, 8 Days follows a Syrian woman, Sham, and her two children as they travel from Lebanon to Germany.
In the beginning, during the parts in Syria and Lebanon, animation is used effectively to describe the problems Sham is fleeing in trying to reach Europe, and why the notion of staying in neighboring countries which are supposed to be safe is not always feasible.
For the most part however, the film takes us along on this journey without much exposition beyond a few brief comments from Sham and some messages that appear on screen.
The film successfully avoids the trap of “humanising” the refugee experience. The narrative is instead powered by Sham’s determination to do what it takes to get her children to safety. As she says in the end, she “would not be Sham” if she did not make a sucess of her new life. Throughout it all, the film is framed by the experiences of her children, and the irrepressible smiles of Yaman and Lulu, even when the journey is at its toughest during the trek across borders, make the bleakness of the situation they are living through even more poignant.
The screening was part of the Together for Refugees campaign and was arranged by Utrikespolitiska Föreningen Stockholm (UFStockholm), in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Ben & Jerry’s Sweden.
Before the screening, Soledad Piñero Misa, Social Mission Manager for Ben & Jerry’s Sweden, spoke about the Together for Refugees campaign and the upcoming EU vote regarding a new resettlement plan.
There is more information on this at https://together.rescue.org/en– where you can send an email to your representative.
More information on hosting a screening of this film here.