EUFF 2020: EXILE: Portrayal of Xenophobia, Deceived

Originally appeared in Film Inquiry.

Exile, filmmaker Visar Morina‘s sophomore effort, is what I’d call a truly deceiving film. Bear in mind that there aren’t mind-boggling twists here. For that matter, considering the minuscule drama or action in it, I wonder what the script of the film might have looked like. There were multiple instances when I felt chopping off the long walks in office corridors, the silences in conversations, and stares between characters would have reduced the run time by a quarter. That was petty of me. Perhaps, you will feel the same as well. However, it’s all in the waiting, the outwards taciturnity, the emptiness, and the mundanity of everyday life. These are the determinants that foster your perspective of the story.

We are put in the shoes of Xhafer (played by an equally deceiving, pitiful Mišel Matičević) a Kosovar working in Germany. The trouble starts with his name. Some pronounce it as Jafar while others go by Xavar. Despite spending years in Germany, Xhafer feels he is branded an outcast by his colleagues at the chemical firm he is employed in. In one of the team meetings, the boss speaks of the vitality of integrity among members of the organization – standard emotionless corporate uplift – citing that they spend more time surrounded by colleagues than their family members. This is Xhafer’s biggest challenge. He is convinced that he is an outsider in his firm, and we cannot disagree either. His colleagues are… cold, indifferent, and ignorant of Xhafer.

Continue reading in in Film Inquiry.

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