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Film Human Flow Explores International Migration

Director Ai Weiwei in HUMAN FLOW, an Amazon Studios release. Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

By Joseph Plummer

In a feat of extraordinary documentary filmmaking, the movie Human Flow will bring next week to San Miguel de Allende artist Ai Weiwei’s compelling examination of migration in today’s world of millions of refugees displaced by war, persecution, extreme violence, and impoverishment.

One major stream of that flow moves between Latin America and the United States. Caminamos Juntos, the San Miguel-based volunteer network that organizes support for Mexican nationals being deported from the United States, will sponsor the showing of Human Flow at Sindicato at 5pm on Thursday, August 16. A donation of 75 pesos is requested of attendees.

Human Flow explores the reality of our shared humanity with those who are caught in this greatest displacement of humans since World War II. Our attention focuses on the aspirations and experiences of millions of refugees who, having lost virtually everything except life itself, find the courage to walk away from death, destruction, and destitution—and then respond to an incredible yearning to start life again in unknown places. In so doing, the film reveals the deeply human impulses of survival that enable the vast tide of our world’s refugees to cast yearnings for better fortune far ahead of despairing circumstances. Here we learn to appreciate and respect these heroic individuals of the twenty-first century, who are struggling through dangerous journeys to find new homes and better lives.

Government authorities and political factions living in much safer circumstances may argue over solutions or, worse, close borders and prolong the misery of displaced people. Nonetheless, whether stuck in a wretched refugee camp, crossing stormy seas in flimsy vessels, or trekking through vast wastelands, this global tide of searching humanity reveals, through the artistry of this remarkable film, the extraordinary strength of individual aspiration at the root of all human history.

Shaped from the stories of refugees in 23 countries, Human Flow mirrors the scope of the crisis, reaching across the globe to draw upon the talents of more than 200 artists and filmmakers. As promised by its creators, this remarkable film offers “a cinematic experience grand in scale but deeply intimate in feeling. It is a mix of poetry with hard facts, laughter with adversity, the stark and the staggeringly beautiful.”

Or, as Weiwei says, “I see those people coming down to the boats as my family… As a human being, I believe any crisis or hardship that happens to another human being should be as though it is happening to us. If we don’t have that kind of trust in each other, we are deeply in trouble.”

Premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and featured at the 2017 Telluride Film Festival, Human Flow, an Amazon Studios release, arrives in San Miguel through the special effort of Mario Lopez, a leader of Caminamos Juntos who after the showing will also lead the audience in a discussion of the film’s unique combination of artistry and crisis documentation.



Caminamos Juntos presents

Human Flow

By Ai Weiwei

Thu, Aug 16, 5pm

Sindicato, Recreo 4

75 pesos

Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Tesoro, the gift shop of the Biblioteca.


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