The Director’s Purpose

The director clearly tries to evoke a feeling of empathy in the viewers towards the refugees. Using different film techniques, the director can try to take the audience inside the life of a refugee. Narration is one of the film techniques used. The director did not just use any random narration, instead he used something called the voice of God. The voice of God is a very deep and authoritative male voice which can easily lead the audience to feel that what he is saying is true. For instance, when the narrator uses very subjective and emotional language such as the words “torturous,” “war,” and “death,” the audience feels it much more than if the narrator were a little girl. The audience could easily feel that these emotions are factual and true without questioning it because the voice sounds very knowledgable.

Other than the narration, the director also uses visual elements to bring up more emotion in the audience. Sometimes, when it is needed, a wide shot is used to show the background of where the participants are at. This can be the barren and dry land in Kenya where the refugees camp in or the small house in Malaysia that houses a lot of people. The purpose of doing this is to help the audience imagine what it is like being in a place like that as the refugees. In addition, there are also some visual elements where things needed in daily life are way beyond unhygienic. An example is the toilet that is just a hole in the dirty ground. By looking at this, the viewers can easily feel disgusted but at the same time they can feel pity for the refugees that have to live like that. Close ups of the refugees, participants or even social workers can also provoke emotion in the audience as seeing the people up close can show their emotions better.

Sound and music are also used to fulfil the director’s purpose. Sometimes, the absence of music can help the audience focus on what is going on like the time when the participants ate their first meal in Kakuma. However, other times intensified music is needed to build up tension in the audience so they are anxious or even excited. As the participants live as refugees, they often face dangers and this is usually when the music build up to make the audience feel like they are somehow in danger too. The danger evokes a feeling of empathy in the audience. Nevertheless, other times there are background sounds that are more emphasized on. For instance, when Raquel was crying about living in Kakuma, the director specifically put the sound of her sniffling and crying in the background instead of music so the audience would feel sad for her and the refugees too.

Lastly, the director edits each episode of the series so the audience would get a taste of what it feels like to be refugees. He uses photo montages and video montages mostly to show this. For instance, there are video montages of Raquel being in the middle of Africans and then it switches to the Africans fighting when the participants go deeper into their refugee experience. This montage shows the audience how uncomfortable the participants feel and how dangerous it really is in their home countries. There are also video montages of the participants going to dangerous countries and what they experience there. For example, Roderick was in that police car and there was a helicopter fleeing and this shows the audience how hectic and treacherous some countries are. All of these film techniques are specifically chosen by the director to shape the audience’s experience about refugees.


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