Directed by Dastan Zorab
Short Documentary Film Review by Owen Herman
The Plight of Freedom wastes no time in plunging the viewer into the distressing world of refugees. The short documentary, from director Dastan Zorab, is an intimate look at a Middle Eastern migrant camp filled with refugees from Syria and the surrounded areas.
Zorab presents a very stripped back documentary short film, filled only with informal interviews with the refugees themselves. The stripped back approach and the short runtime allow Zorab to really get to the heart of the problem. The refugees are full of despair for lost love ones and a deep hatred of their new way of life, they rant about both sides, how they are seemingly stuck in the middle of this brutal war, and they show their depressing and inadequate living conditions. However, there are touching moments of bravery, particularly from the kids, as people learn to live with their desperate situation.
The Plight of Freedom aims to show the human side of a story that is mostly covered for its economic and political implications. It certainly achieves this through its blunt and honest approach There are no clever graphics or clips apart from what was filmed by the crew, it is purely the experience of the refugees, told by the refugees. It is indeed an important story that needs to be told, particularly as it is happening right now, but The Plight of Freedom fails to add anything new to this, or bring up any unique ideas. It shows the pain and suffering of the refugees in powerful yet simple ways, but it remains, like plenty of other reports of life in these camps, very general. One example would be one man’s tale of how he was told he would only be out of his home for a day, yet a year later he was still in a camp. This could’ve been explored with much more depth, showing us a problem that has been reported far less.
Although the tales the documentary tells are unsurprising, they are told in beautiful way. Zorab and director of photography Abdul Salih capture everything from the breath-taking scenery just beyond the camp’s fences to the sadness in the eyes of the refugees. There is some excellent cinematography on display, which lifts The Plight of Freedom above similar documentaries and reports.
Overall The Plight of Freedom is an impressive and important documentary that covers an extremely relevant topic well. It doesn’t quite explore its subject matter with enough depth, but it tells some powerful stories that are well worth hearing.