The Crossing

Film Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

The Crossing is being presented as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City. Visit the official site for other cities and dates.

For millions of people around the world, uprootedness and exile are the tempo of the times. In this absorbing documentary by photojournalist and film director George Kurian, we meet a small band of men, women, and children who have decided to leave their beloved homeland.

The Syrian civil war has taken a heavy toll on these survivors and most of them can no longer cope with the death and destruction. It is heart-breaking to witness them saying goodbye to family and friends. Given the circumstances, they may never see relatives again and so the tears flow freely.

We meet Nabil , a talented musician who plays the oud; Angela, a television journalist who is scheduled to hook up with her husband in Paris; and Rami, who notes that as Syrians they are not pursuing “a better life” but just want “to have a life.”

The journey across the sea to Egypt is okay but the voyage to Italy is a nightmare of filth, sickness, helplessness, and a mixture of anger and depression. After seven days of suffering, they are rescued by an oil tanker and taken to Genoa, Italy, from where they will each go their separate ways to various refugee camps and hostels in Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium.

These courageous refugees are willing to leave everything behind in order to find a new place to call home, work, and raise their families. Asked whether they would ever like to return to a peaceful Syria, most would say “yes.” In exile, these Syrians remain homesick, enduring frequent feelings of sadness and longing for familiar people and places in the face of an uncertain future.

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