Film is incredibly democratic and accessible, it’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world, not just re-decorate it.

- Banksy

A Movie is a strong medium of spreading a message to millions of people around the world. Each movie envelopes a different message, equally important than the first. Here we have a list of movies that talks about the lives of the migrants and immigrants and the problems they face such as displacement and statelessness. This is a serious global issue and one that should be addressed in following the message of the UN Sustainable Development Goals of leaving no one behind.

1. Dancer in the Dark


The movie revolves around a Czech immigrant, Selma who is a single working mother. Selma is a factory worker in rural America and is pictured constantly daydreaming of a better life. Her deliverance, is her love and passion for old Hollywood Classical music. What is soon discovered in the movie is that Selma is suffering from a degenerative eye condition and is slowly losing her eyesight. Her son Gene, might also suffer the same condition if Selma is not able to save enough money for his operation. To add to her burdens, Selma’s neighbor falsely accuses her of stealing his savings. Her suffering doesn’t end here, when a series of events, led Selma to be put on trial and eventually put on the death penalty. The story ends with Selma singing her final song on the gallows, showing that she still holds on to her love for music till the end.


2. Welcome


Welcome, is an inspiring story of hope and love that centers around 17-year-old Iraqi-Kurd immigrant, Bilal Kayani, who sets on an adventure-filled journey across Europe. Bilal is determined to go to England to meet his girlfriend Mina who lives there with her family. He soon realizes that getting to England is no easy feat considering the struggles that immigrants faces at that time. Bilal soon discovers that the only way he can get to England is by swimming across 32 Kms of the channel. But this seemed impossible since, Bilal did not know how to swim. His search for swimming lessons led him to meet swimming coach, Simon Calmat. Simon soon learns about Bilal’s plans and befriends the teenager and tries to help him. However, France laid strict penalties to those who helped illegal immigrants and a neighbor reported Simon to the authorities. The police then search Simon’s apartment hoping to capture Bilal, but Bilal has already left on a final attempt to cross the channel. Unfortunately, Bilal drowns 800 meters from the English coast while trying to hide from the authorities. Simon then travels to England to inform Mina about Bilal.


3. Brooklyn


The movie is set in 1951 and 1952 and relates the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey who immigrated to Brooklyn. The movie depicts the very real feelings that an immigrant faces in the first few days, such as homesickness and loneliness. These feelings were particularly strong for Eilis since she had to leave behind her widowed mother and sister. Eventually, in time she soon finds herself adapting to the new place and soon finds a job as a sales girl while also studying bookkeeping at Brooklyn College. She then falls into a quick romance with Tony, an Italian-American plumber who loves and adores her. Her life was going well, but short-lived, as Eilis soon discovers of her sister’s death. This incites Eilis to return to Ireland to support her mother at this time. She and Tony gets married secretly and she departs for Ireland. Once there, Eilis gets seduced by the charm of her hometown and soon meets an eligible and well-off bachelor, Jim Farrell. Eilis slowly feels that she can get the future that she always wanted to have in Ireland and soon stops opening the letters from Tony. However, Eilis is reminded of what life is like in a small gossipy town and decides to return back to America, to Tony. On her way, she offers guidance to a young woman making her first trip to America.

4. The Kite Runner


The movie is based in the 70’s and tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul and his closest friend Hassan, son of his father’s servant. Amir and Hassan were raised together in Amir’s father’s house, spending their days playing and flying kites on the streets of Kabul. Amir often feels that his father blames Amir for his mother’s death at the time of giving birth and also that he favors Hassan over him. On the day of Amir’s birthday, he hides his watch on Hassan’s bed, framing him a thief. This forces his father to fire his servant and asked them to leave the house. The war soon happened in Afghanistan, and Amir and his father escape to Pakistan. They soon move to America and lead a new life in California. One day, Amir receives a phone call asking him to return to Afghanistan to help seek Hassan’s orphaned child. Hassan and his wife were murdered during the war. When Amir learns about this, he returns back to honor the memory of his old friend Hassan and return in a journey to redeem himself.


5. The Terminal


The Terminal tells a story about Viktor Navorski, a traveler who arrives at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, only to find that his passport is not valid owing to the sudden civil war that is taking place in his homeland. Due to which, the United States is not recognizing his homeland as a sovereign nation and he is not permitted to enter the United States nor return back to his country. Viktor finds himself in limbo and is not allowed to leave the airport. His inability to communicate in proper English leads to more confusion and Viktor finally decided to settle in a secluded closed-off corner of the airport. During his initial days at the airport, Viktor encounters and helps out a flight attendant, Amelia Warren. He soon starts to improve his English and also secures himself a job at the airport. Amelia eventually finds out the real reason why Viktor came to America. The reason was his late father was a jazz-enthusiast and he saw the famous portrait, “A Great Day in Harlem“, in a Hungarian newspaper in 1958 and vowed that we would collect the signatures of all 57 jazz musicians featured on it. The peanut can that Viktor was carrying had a copy of the portrait as well as the signatures of all 56 jazz musicians that his father collected, except one, that of Benny Golson. After his father died, Viktor promised to collect the remaining one signature, which is why he came to America. Amelia with the help of a contact managed to get Viktor a one-day emergency visa to the United States. Overjoyed, Viktor arrives in New York at the hotel where Golson was playing and managed to get his signature. He then places the signature in his peanut can and finally heads back home, where the civil war has ended.