Les arrivants

The Arrivals

The first shot of the film establishes its agenda: the arrival of the Indian elephant god in the streets of Paris. The elephant god – a symbol of power and wisdom – is a well-chosen metaphor for the clash of foreign cultures that is part of the daily life of the CAFDA, a municipal reception centre for asylum seeking families. For both sides must show power and wisdom – the social workers who are constantly at risk of collapsing under the sheer number of new arrivals, and the asylum seekers who are forced to comply with an administrative logic that must seem as alien and incomprehensible to them as life on the moon. Observing both sides’ predicaments with sympathy and understanding, the film accompanies the CAFDA’s Sisyphus work and offers an authentic picture of persecution, political oppression and human misery outside Europe. (Festival information)