WCA x De Balie: Lessons on migration

Because images speak much louder than words and because the stories of our fellow human beings teach us much about ourselves, we present to you this vasty program about the representation of migration in film, together with the WCA filmfestival.

During this program, we’ll investigate what it means to be in a place where you don’t belong, weren’t born, aren’t rooted. We look at migration through four different films, from four different perspectives, from four corners of the world, and with four different protagonists. They are young and old, on the run or (temporarily) settled.  
What does it mean for a human being to migrate? To leave everything behind and rebuild it all in a different place but with continuous uncertainty and a constant and dormant longing for a place called home.  

We’ll watch clips from the WCA films:
Fighter (Jeró Yun, South Korea)
Ensilumi (Hamy Ramezan, Finland/Iran)
Eyimofe (Arie & Chuko Esiri Nigeria) 
The Man who Sold his Skin (Kaouther Ben Hania)  

And discuss them with four special guests.  
Where are you? And if you had to put all that behind you, who would you be? Learn these lessons on migration from film and check out our website for updates on this program.


1. Fighter (2020)
Directed by Jéro Yun

After successfully escaping North Korea and spending months in a social inclusion facility, Jina moves into her new apartment in Seoul. However, the path to a self-determined life continues to challenge the young woman. Her mother, who has become a stranger to her, lives somewhere in town, while her father is still stuck in the north. In order to raise the money for his escape, Jina toils day and night. Following a period of setbacks, she changes her tactics. While working in a gym, she puts on her boxing gloves. The sheer tension of her body reflects the struggle for recognition far beyond the boxing ring. The film carefully tells the story of a refugee’s fate in a divided country, the inner border which is not just on the map. 

2. Ensilumi (2020)
Directed by Hamy Ramezan

Rain-soaked Finnish forests bathed in a nebulous haze. Every morning, the 13-year-old Ramin is awakened tenderly by his mother. The Mehdipour family encounters everyday life in a refugee accommodation in a quiet, simple manner, full of humour and warmth. In the here and now, every moment is savoured as if there were no tomorrow: time with friends, new encounters, parties and – for Ramin – falling in love for the first time. And yet, it is clear that if the family’s application for asylum is denied, which could happen any day, things will change abruptly. Moments of courage and joy, despair and worry all add to the loving portrait of a child and his family who, on the threshold of a new life, never lose their dignity. 

3. Eyimofe (2020)
Directed by Arie & Chuko Esiri 

This stunning debut drama, set in colorful, chaotic Lagos, the Nigerian capital, is made by twin brothers, Arie and Chuko Esiri. Not unlike many working class Americans, the two main characters are just one piece of bad news away from a precipitous fall into poverty. Both are scrambling to overcome Kafkaesque obstacles placed in the way of obtaining passports to quit Nigeria for Europe.

4. The Man who Sold his Skin (2020)
Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania

Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he accepts to have his back tattooed by one of by the World’s most sulfurous contemporary artist. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will however come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.


Parwin MirrahimyProgram editor & moderator