Europe has long been a place where refugees flee to. During the last decade or so the influx of people trying to escape war and other dangerous situations in Africa and the Middle East having been boarding dodgy boats to take the perilous trip to freedom. This Oscar nominated short documentary sheds light on this and how certain countries in Europe are dealing with it.
Lifeboat shows how members of a German non-profit group take boats out in order to rescue refugees in danger of dying on sinking rafts. It belongs to a trio of films dealing with the impact of the conflict in Syria. The Syrian refugee crisis is a large scale one and has gone of for many years.
Filmed in 2016, the film follows Brit Jon Castle and his team of volunteers who work with German non-profit Sea-Watch as they go out on the waters to rescue those on overcrowded and even slowly sinking rafts. They then transport them to European Union transport vessels. You get to see the various levels of distress the refugees are in. Women are pregnant, kids are crying and people are sick or injured. Not even going into the emotional distress that they are undergoing.
Hard to distance yourself once you have seen it close up. Relying on very little dialogue, most of the impact is due to the visuals. Allowing the pictures to tell the tale. Footage of the crammed rafts and even some dead bodies hits the mark. A couple of the refugees do tell their stories and they are harrowing. Illuminating the situations they are trying to escape from which include violence, kidnapping and rape.
This is a global crisis. Not one that concerns just Western Europe. A refugee crisis in which certainly organizations are trying to help other humans who are putting their lives in danger because they are in mortal danger if they stay in the countries they were born in. A human face is given to what many see as just large numbers. The world we live in is a global one. One in which we are all connected. Films like this prod us to realize that the Syrian problem is everyone’s problem. It is not an isolated or regional incident.
Politicians today in many parts of the world continue to drive a wedge between people. Keep the “other” out. Preach that the “other” or refugees are to be feared. Trump, time and time again, has stated how many coming into the U.S. are bad and dangerous types. People believe this making them fear migrants or refugees instead of extending a helping hand to a fellow human being in a time of crisis.
A film like Lifeboat is supremely important because it educates us as to who is fleeing and that they are not people to be feared. No one would get into a flimsy overcrowded rubber raft to travel from Libya to Italy in dangerous waters if they had a choice. The possibility of drowning is high. Lifeboat shows evidence of those who don’t make it alive.