UK PREMIERE Screening: Paradise – Three Journeys In This World

Screening 11 November 2007

“I thought that when I go to Europe, everything would be fine. When I came to Europe, I cried. When I came to Spain, I cried.”

Elina Hirvonen’s Paradise – Three Journeys In This World is a poetic documentary about immigration from Africa to Europe. In it we see how illegal immigration forces people to live their lives on the street and results in the separation and concern that it causes back in the home villages around Africa.

In the first journey we travel along the route of tomato trucks to Almeria, Spain, where illegal immigrants from Africa harvest vegetables for European consumers. A large number of the people who work in the greenhouses are illegal immigrants who provide a good and cheap labour force. We meet 24-year-old Bakary Fofana, who, dreaming of a better life, has left his home village in Mali. The village is slowly turning into desert.

The second journey goes to Morocco, where numerous immigrants are willing to do anything to get to Europe. In November 2005 over 700 immigrants tried to climb over the fences between Morocco and Spain in order to get to Europe. Six of them were shot and 500 were taken on buses to the Sahara desert. We meet Adam, who has escaped war in the Ivory Coast and has walked over 1000 kilometres from the desert on the border of Morocco and Mauritania to the capital, Rabat. Now he is living in hiding along with numerous other refugees and immigrants and constantly fearing violence from local authorities.

The third journey takes us through the desert to Bakary Fofana’s home village on the border of Mali and Mauritania. The village is surrounded by a desert which is constantly gaining more ground and is believed to ruin the possibility of human life in the village within the next few decades. Bakary’s family gathers together to receive his message.

Director and Screenwriter: Elina Hirvonen
Length: 51 mins