Article Details

Exodus, the shocking documentary that puts you on the sinking ship

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 08/07/2016 | Views: 1214
Shot by refugees fleeing to Europe to be broadcast on BBC 2, 11-13 July at 9pm.
A ground breaking new documentary gives cameras to refugees fleeing to Europe. The resulting three-part film takes you with them every step – from suburban flat to leaky dinghy to suffocating container. (The Guardian)

A few hours into Hassan Akkad’s crossing from Turkey to Greece in an overcrowded dinghy, he realises things are not looking good for him, or the 50 other refugees squeezed in beside him. He notices that there is half a foot of water in the boat. Gradually, the mounting alarm is caught on camera, as Akkad films the doomed journey on a hidden camera.

A woman hugs her two children and says to her fellow passengers, who are piled on top of each other: “For God’s sake, guys, stop moving!” Another woman complains: “You are very heavy and you are sitting on my leg.” A further refugee, looking uncertainly out at rippling waves, says: “Thank God, the sea is fine.” Another suggests they all pray. “Returning to the lord is our final destiny,” they say in unison. “Peace be upon us.”

We’ve read about these terrible crossings too many times in the past year, but this is the first time footage has revealed so powerfully what is it like to be on a sinking boat, the engine no longer working, drifting somewhere between Greece and Turkey. The passengers study their mobile phones to see where they are, and whether they have crossed into Greek water. A while later, someone asks: “Is water still coming in?” Somehow Akkad manages to manoeuvre his phone so he captures the rising water levels between a tangle of legs. Soon, half the passengers are out of the boat, hanging on to the edges, trying in vain to bale out the water with small plastic water bottles.

The desperation of such refugees has become a familiar element of news bulletins, but what is different about Exodus – an extraordinary three-part documentary to be broadcast next week on BBC2 – is the way the film is pieced together with footage shot by refugees as they document their own journey. We are with them every step – as they negotiate with the people smugglers for a crossing to Greece (“€2,000 per person, kids half price, every kid under two-and-a-half goes free”), as their dinghy capsizes, as they climb in the back of the container lorries to be smuggled under the Channel, and find themselves near to suffocation when things do not go to plan.   Read more here
Print Bookmark and Share

Return to previous page