My husband will be the first to tell you I never watch his films. This is not true, but it’s also not completely false. Dude’s made a lot of docs, must I watch every single one?
He’s been talking about a documentary on the migrants, Exode (Exodus), for two years. He previewed it for his mother this summer, but I didn’t get to see it myself. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch something depressing about Syrian refugees. Haven’t we all seen and read enough over the past few years?
The answer to that is: No.
No, there will never be enough said, written or filmed about the migrant crisis until it has been handled à la Olivia Pope (though maybe without the lying, intimidating and killing parts).
What Exode does brilliantly is give a human face and heart to the staggering statistics: Over one million migrants arrived in Europe last year. And though we know the reasons people are fleeing their home countries—war, poverty, oppression, devastation—it’s easy to file away with all the other unpleasant things we don’t want to think about: what’s for dinner, why our pants don’t fit anymore, Kim Kardashian being robbed.
I’m joking, but I’m also not. We’re so hyperconnected that everything we could possibly want to know (and not know) is at our fingertips at all times. It’s miraculous, really. It’s also dangerous. When facts and truth aren’t distinguishable from gossip and opinion, when news and entertainment are synonymous, we get a world where a movie star divorce gets more media coverage—and mind space—than police brutality and baby refugees. Brangelina’s separation is obviously easier to digest than the human casualties of a never-ending war, but are we toddlers who’ll choose bonbons over broccoli every time? Are we hoping that if we bury our heads in brainless entertainment, the people begging for help on our doorsteps will just go away?
I urge everyone to watch Exode tonight and think about what it means to live in such glorious excess while remaining blissfully unaware of the human cost of that willful ignorance. I couldn’t stop thinking about our luxurious Greek vacation this summer, my complaints about having to take a 6am ferry, when a few islands over, families just like ours were crossing the cold, choppy waters in an overloaded dinghy to wind up in a camp without enough food and supplies for everyone. All before they left by foot, babies in tow, to reach a Europe that was trying to keep them out.
Yes, you’ll feel wrung out after the film, but you’ll also feel closer to your humanity and moved to make this world better. I know not everyone has Canal+, but if you do or someone you know does, please watch this extraordinary film. I hope it will soon get wider distribution because I believe everyone in the world needs to see it. Exode has deeply affected and changed me—and it will you, too.