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The Valley

On the idyllic mountainous border of France and Italy, local residents are self-organising in order to help refugees, while law enforcers adopt underhand methods to intervene.

Dir Nuno Escudeiro
Prod Andreas Pichler, Luc Martin-Gousset, Valerio B Moser
Scr Nuno Escudeiro, Moritz Bonatti
Italy-France
2019
75min
Sales Point du Jour International
With English subtitles

Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places. The valleys of the French Alps experienced enforced displacement during Second World War, so perhaps it’s no surprise that many residents feel moved to help refugees whose homes have also become battlefields. In a climate of mistrust and rising prejudice, it’s refreshing to witness everyday people get savvy about the laws of these lands, especially when political engagement is fickle. As one man quips, ‘Increase the retirement age by six months and you’ll have three million people protesting, but nothing for this’. While director Nuno Escudeiro attempts to document the way these ambiguous, shifting laws are enforced, and authorities sneak refugees out the back door instead of registering them, no irony is lost with the town’s sign: ‘The Pearl of France is Happy to Welcome You’.

Sophie Brown

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