by Stephen Ariel | The Spectator | March 11, 2022
The tragic ongoing events in Ukraine have highlighted the plight of refugees, with over 2m people (mainly women and children) fleeing the country since Russia invaded on 24 February 2022. Sadly, refugee crises have been occurring since the dawn of what may ironically be called ‘civilisation’, most notably the Biblical Exodus from Egypt and Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, which began when the Swiss Helvetii confederation, under pressure of Germanic tribes, sought to cross into Roman territory on their westward journey to safety.
Movies concerning refugees range from the past (Exodus: Gods & Kings) to the dystopian future (Children of Men) and are international in scope, including the UK (Limbo), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Welcome to Sarajevo) and West Africa (Beasts of No Nation). There are also a fair number of motion pictures which follow the lives of rulers forced to exit their countries (including Leo the Last, A King in New York, The Last Emperor, The Exception, The King’s Choice, and Monsieur N), but I will concentrate on the fate of the less privileged seekers of asylum.
If you have the fortitude for watching more films in a similar vein, you may want to check out Peter Kosminsky’s BBC TV movie Warriors (1999), which depicts a group of British soldiers serving with the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia during the Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing of 1993. The harrowing drama stars Matthew MacFadyen, Damian Lewis, and Ioan Gruffudd. Video clips: