This was a challenging film to see first-up in this year's French Film Festival. "The Arrivals' is a documentary made in 2008, set in gritty Paris. It tells the story of asylum seekers and how the French bureaucracy does (or does not) cope. Very quickly our sights are narrowed down to two bureaucrats - both female - one older and sympathetic, one younger and more confrontational.
The refugees are from Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and two from Africa. They are more or less assertive and demanding, and one young mother is unaware of her real circumstances.
This is an important film for an Australian to see, as we have an ongoing public concern about asylum seekers. It puts our concerns into a strong perspective. It was engrossing to hear about refugees flying in, or driving in a lorry. To hear the story of refugees from such a massive range of countries other than Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
A challenging film with a small audience, some of whom left early.