In This World Review

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Two refugees travel from the Pakistan/Afghan border, through Western Pakistan to Iran, Turkey, Italy and France, seeking asylum in Britain. It's an incredibly tough journey - by jeep, by van, by bus, by foot, and inside a container unit on the back of a lorry...


Michael Winterbottom's pertinent statement on asylum seekers, the political hot potato du jour, takes us right to the heart of the matter. It is presented as fiction, but the lines with documentary are blurred so much that you are never sure if what you are watching is actual or a construction.

Tony Grisoni's script is a distillation of first-hand accounts of refugees' journeys, and the non-actors in the lead roles had their journey 'organised' by the filmmakers, who captured their spontaneous reactions to suggested situations. These are effective tactics that heighten the emotional resonance of the gripping stories, and the use of DV technology also helps the cause. It is shocking to read of people so desperate to get to this country that they hide in boxes or cling to the bottom of lorries. Winterbottom's intrepid camera takes us inside those boxes and under those axles.

Winterbottom is possibly Britain's most versatile and maverick filmmaker, and this is a committed, provocative and extraordinary work.