EUFF 15 Review: “Simshar” (2014) ★★★★


Not everyone is fortunate enough to live a fruitful life. But in some parts of the world many lives can’t even be compared to the one that we usually call as “acceptable”. The problem that occurred in Europe with African refugees is deplorable. However, the fact that someone can simply put his job and well being over a human life is what can be considered as a great threat to the society we have tried to build for ages. The story being told in SIMSHAR, directed by Rebecca Cremona, is based on a true story about three family members and an African refugee who also was the part of the crew that had to drift in open sea after the ‘Simshar’ sinks… But when a fishing boat passing nearby notices four people in the Mediterranean Sea, the captain quickly makes the decision to continue his course, mistakenly assuming the family for African migrants.

When the movie begins, we already know that the Simshar boat has some issues that makes it forbidden to leave the harbour until further notice. However, Simon finds it impossible to follow the order as that could have triggered even more financial problems that could impact his family. After discussion with friends, Simon, his father, and elder son, Theo, and an African refugee, they leave the harbour for fishing. After some time, things go wrong when after a fire on the boat, the ‘Simshar’ sinks, leaving the crew to drift in the Mediterranean sea. But when there’s little chance to be rescued, a fishing boat that passes nearby notices people on open sea, however, ignores their plea of a crew, as the captain did not want to have any involvement with refugees….

The story of Simon is not the only thing that happens in the film, while another parallel story that links to the sunk ‘Simshar’ boat occurs in another boat full of African refugees. It’s quite interesting seeing while Alex, a Red Cross doctor, tries to save the helpless people and bring them to Maltese land, the other boat hesitates to do the same when the captain sees four helpless people in the open sea. It also happens that one of the Red Cross members who is on the Turkish boat with Alex is Simon’s friend, who is unaware of his friend’s desperate situation. This is what actually makes this story painful to follow while the two side of human facet is being studied in Rebecca Cremona’s film.

SIMSHAR is a film that touches upon the subject of human behavior and brings its best and worst sides, emphasizing the statutes of the society that make a certain category of people to act inhuman. And that even makes more difficult to watch it when you know that the story being told in the film is inspired by a true event where the family being left alone in the open water has been mistaken for African migrants. And after you watch the film, you will ask yourself only one question, “why in the 21st century we still have to face the issue where African migrants earn somehow less attention and the right to be rescued in case they are found in the open sea, while a white man has more privilege to be taken care of?”


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