Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘The Valley’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘The Valley’

Nestled between the mountainous region of the French Alps lies the Roya and Durance Valleys, village towns that border between France and Italy. The Valley documents how these villages have dealt with a number of Eritrean refugees trying to seek political asylum by illegally smuggling them into France, in order to legally claim their right to asylum under the French constitution.

The good Samaritans of the villages take in these refugees, give them food, shelter, teach them basic phrases to help aid their quest in claiming asylum, but over time, the border police start to catch on to their plans and crack down on the undocumented migrants, resulting sometimes in deportation, or in some cases jail time for civil disobedience.

Presenting how these villages go above and beyond in their willingness to aid these refugees, halfway through the documentary director Nuno Escudeiro focuses on Cedric, who becomes the main advocate in helping these refugees, documenting and photographing them for identification reasons, and making sure that the keep track of them if they get deported.

Given the 72 minute runtime, Escudeiro presents a concise empathetic view on a community that is acting out of the goodness of their hearts and for the betterment of humankind. I wish that it gave the audience more of a point of view from the Eritrean refugees, but with the language barrier that exists, it’s not like it hurts the documentary in any way.

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Marc is just like any other film reviewer on the Internet, screaming into the endless void of interconnected social media...except he does not use Twitter that much. Having worked on various feature films, shorts, web series, and music videos, Marc has also worked on the distribution end of the film industry. His love for David Bowie and Nicolas Cage is only rivaled by his affinity for the movie going experience, which to him is like going to Temple (or ciné-gogue as he puts it,) where the film is gospel and the seats are just as uncomfortable. He lives in Toronto.
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