Documentary review: Palabras de Refugiados

Palabras de Refugiados
Palabras de Refugiados crew shooting at Punte Simon Bolivar. Photo: Alexandre Beddock

Directed by French journalist and political scientist Alexandre Beddock and Belgian explorer and economist Julien Defourny, Palabras de Refugiados, is a documentary that portrays the plight of Venezuelans migrating to Colombia.

This independent film is an assemblage of emotional tales that provide a new perspective on the growing issue of Venezuelan migration, an exodus provoked by the country’s economic, social, and political crisis. Beddock and Defourny’s film focuses on the stories of thousands of people who are being painfully forced to cross borders.

The movie trailer shows Venezuelan transients crossing the Simón Bolívar International Bridge to Cúcuta, while a sonata by famous Venezuelan artist Simón Díaz plays in the background: “If you find trouble far from me, tell the stars to bring you back.” These past months the number of refugees has swollen from 20,000 to 35,000 crossing this bridge every day.

This isn’t the first time that Alexandre Beddock has highlighted the phenomenon of migration. In his short movie, Voices of Refugees, he went to Lesbos, one of the Greek islands receiving the most migrants at the height of the European ‘migration crisis’ that lies on the Balkans route. He also went to Brussels to film stories from young refugees fleeing Syria, Iran, Iraq, and other countries to seek asylum in Europe.

The migratory situation that Europe is facing differs from Colombia’s due to factors such as culture, religion, language, and environmental conditions. However, the French director prefers to focus on their similarities and to explore these issues through the lens of human rights: “Behind the numbers, mentioned again and again by the mainstream media and in the political discourses, we forget too often that there are faces, hopes and aspirations. People that only want to have a future, just like all of us!” says Beddock.

The documentary will be shown at this year’s Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de Villa de Leyva from November 9 to 12. See a trailer of the film and keep an eye on their facebook page for information about screenings.


By Sara Zajia. 

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