PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Guido Hendrikx, director of the film Stranger in Paradise.
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An interview with Guido Hendrikx, director of Stranger in Paradise, which was featured in the program of the 20th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. The director talks about the film, which is about migration, but more specifically, as he tells us, “more about Europe and the way in which we in Europe tend to relate to migrants.” In Stranger in Paradise, an actor, Valentijn Dhaenens, hosts a type of classes in which, in the first two parts addresses migrants from different parts of the world first in a right-wing populist manner and then in a left-wing one. Both arguments are unsatisfactory, he agrees, but there are things that can be agreed upon in both as well. We ask him about him he first approached Dhaanens and explained to him what it is that he wanted to do and to what extent the migrants were aware of what was happening as far as the film was concerned. We also ask him about his own interest in the topic, and he tells us about his own journalistic background, as well as the difference between making a film and covering migration for the news, and more.
Stranger in Paradise: “What do you actually want from Europe? Do you think of us as a sort of Garden of Eden, whose fruit you can harvest as you wish?” Exhausted immigrants, who have just survived the sea to arrive on European shores, continue to hear such questions. The documentary’s protagonist Valentijn Dhaenens, a Belgian actor, assuming the role of a mentor, confronts immigrants at his lectures with some of the typical European attitudes towards their arrival. Should we caution them about potential problems? Or support their dreams for a better life? Who will get a chance to stay in Europe? How do we decide? One thing is certain: far more complicated mechanisms than the mere determination and will of foreigners lie behind entering “paradise”. Under which scenario will one of the greatest stories of our time – the story of migration, hope and disillusionment in which everyone is forced to play a role – develop?