Six films, two of which are In Competition, covered the refugee experience. From documentaries to science fiction and black comedy, all genres were fair game when it came to examining the migrant crisis currently seen around the globe.
Sea Sorrow, refugee realism
Screened the day after the opening of the Special Screenings, Vanessa Redgrave's documentary introduced the theme of exile by looking back at the history of refugees in the 20th and 21st centuries. Sea Sorrow fuses documentary and theatre in a mix of soundbites from activists and actors, tackling the issues of safety and protection surrounding human rights.
Jupiter’s Moon: one refugee's fantastical journey
In his fifth feature film, Kornél Mundruczó looks at refugees in Hungary through the eyes of a Syrian man wounded by a bullet during an illegal attempt to cross the border between Hungary and Serbia. Following this debacle, he discovers that he has been blessed with the power to levitate, enabling the character to step outside of his oppressive circumstances and find peace.
Happy End: Western indifference in the face of the refugee crisis
Happy End brings two conflicting realities face-to-face: middle-class life and the realities of the Jungle in Calais. In his inimitable, clinical style, Michael Haneke shows refugees wandering the streets alongside a disconnected, isolated middle-class family, thus decrying humanity's wilful blindness.
Out and Ila Ayn?, expat directors speak out
At Un Certain Regard and Cannes Classics, Slovakian György Kristóf and Lebanese Georges Nasser explore migration as a rite of passage and personal quest.
In Out, György Kristóf's first feature film, the director drew inspiration from his experience as an expat to recount the odyssey embarked upon by a fifty-something who leaves his home behind on a mission to turn his dream into reality and find work in a country not 'his own'. This portrait of a migrant confronted by a different culture and new work etiquette is a nod to the anti-refugee policies implemented by prime ministers in Hungary and Slovakia.
Sixty years before him, Georges Nasser tackled the issues of emigration and exile through the eyes of Lebanese migrants on a quest for a better life. In Ila Ayn?, Brazil is the new El Dorado: but can reality do justice to the dream?
Carne y Arena, an immersive experience
This edition's biggest jolt comes from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who treated audiences to a virtual reality experience. With sand between their toes and headsets over ears, viewers were whisked away on a six-minute and 30-second journey deep into the living hell of migrants stuck at the gateway to the United States. This documentary-like film exposes the everyday struggle of illegal migrants dreaming of a better life - or at the very least, a life that is tolerable.