Stranger in Paradise

Guido Hendrikx
Netherlands 2016 | 77 Min.
Q&A with: Eric Glijnis

This is a semi-doc­u­men­tary film in three acts. Three groups of refugees sit facing a teacher in a class­room. The teacher is an actor, but the class is made up of real refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, Soma­lia, and the Ivory Coast. In this lab­o­ra­to­ry-like sit­u­a­tion, the actor plays a Euro­pean who demon­strates how people are cur­rent­ly talk­ing about their newly arrived neigh­bors. In act 1, the teacher focus­es on the slogan “go home and build your own wel­fare state, we don’t want you,” which is cer­tain­ly the crass­est thing that can be said to a refugee’s face. The good guy in act 2, on the other hand, is full of under­stand­ing for their dire sit­u­a­tion. He feels guilty about his colo­nial her­itage, and he doesn’t think there are any finan­cial prob­lems what­so­ev­er for wealthy Europe. Act 3 then address­es the legal aspect and demon­stra­tive­ly shows what chances they have to be grant­ed asylum based on their origin and how they got here. One by one, they must leave the room.
Although the refugees were informed before­hand about the struc­ture of this film exper­i­ment, and even though they knew that the actor’s dia­logue was script­ed, the film is nonethe­less dis­turb­ing in its frank­ness when illus­trat­ing the mood in Europe that oscil­lates between two oppo­site extremes. Hendrikx’s film is meant to be provoca­tive, and in the epi­logue filmed on the street, the actor con­tin­ues to tell refugees pass­ing by how much films like this costs, and how big the bud­gets are in the film indus­try…

Spe­cial Jury Award IDFA

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Guido Hen­drikx geb. 1987, studierte Freie Kunst und Kunst­wissenschaften an der Uni­ver­sität Utrecht. Während des Studi­ums arbeit­ete er als Free­lancer für ver­schiedene Medien. 2010 begann er sein Studi­um für Doku­men­tarfilm­regie an der Dutch Film Acad­e­my. Er real­isierte mehrere Kurz­filme u.a. DAY IS DONE (2010), STUDYFACTORY (2013), ESCORT (2013), ONDER ONS (2014).