Watch Stranger In Paradise
- 1 hr 12 min
Stranger in Paradise is a thought-provoking and bold movie written and directed by Guido Hendrikx, released in 2016. The film follows the story of a teacher who makes a controversial experiment with refugees in a classroom setting. The movie casts Valentijn Dhaenens, Hadji Abdulahat, and Tijmen Govaerts in leading roles. The drama is produced by seriousFilm and coproduced by IKON and Pieter van Huystee Film. The movie is structured in three sections, each reflecting a different stage of the experiment the teacher tries to perform, with the final section providing a different perspective on the situation. The movie aims to look beyond the usual social and political narrative of the refugee crisis and offers a fresh perspective from the teacher's point of view. The film has a raw, authentic look and feel as the actors depict real-life characters that they improvised. In the first section of the movie, the teacher, played by Dhaenens, walks into his classroom of young refugees from Afghanistan and Africa. His first mission is to educate them on the reality of life in Europe, where they will face challenges such as discrimination, bureaucracy, and the language barrier. He is blunt, straightforward, and at times, appearing insensitive in his approach. He assumes an authoritative position and repeats several times, "I'm not your friend" and warns them that he is not there to teach life skills or become their mentor; he is there to inform them of the harsh realities of a system that they will soon encounter. The second section of the film takes an unusual turn as the teacher transforms into a salesman. He convinces the immigrants that there are only a limited number of spots available in Europe, and he only has so many visas to give away. He acts as their ticket into Europe and the ultimate decision-maker on their fate. The tone shifts, and the teacher presents himself as a savior, a hope for a better future. The third section of the film brings the experiment's flaws to the surface and provides a different perspective on the situation. The teacher breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly, and criticizing his performance as an educator. He expresses his doubts and regrets, realizing that he has played all the roles of the good cop, bad cop, and savior and feels guilty about toying with peoples' lives. The film takes a more reflective approach, asking if it is ethical to manipulate refugees into believing a falsified narrative. Overall, Stranger in Paradise is a timely and thought-provoking movie that takes an alternative approach to the refugee crisis by questioning the ethics of how refugees are treated. It undermines conventional solutions and reveals the difficulties of fitting in with an unfamiliar culture while also revealing the difficulty in convincing refugees to abandon their hopes of migration to Europe. Stranger in Paradise is a meaningful and impactful movie that highlights the complexities of immigration and the complexities of humanitarian efforts.