The Lives of Refugees in ‘Eyes of Exodus’

An intriguing short film documentary, Eyes of Exodus chronicles Syrian refugees as they await asylum on a small island.

In recent years, one of the most contentious issues involve the current situation in Syria. Between the authoritarian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the rise of Islamic extremist terrorist groups, and the outflow of people trying to escape the war-torn nation.

In the case of the latter topics, people are divided about what to do with these refugees. On one side, there are those who believe that accepting the migrants is the humane thing to do, and that they need homes because their motherland is too dangerous to live in. On the other side, there are those who posit that the mass influx of immigrants may cause domestic unrest, and that there is a risk that some of them could themselves be terrorists.

No matter where you may stand, it is undeniable that refugees are put through many hardships as they attempt to find a safe place for them. Forced to leave the place that they have known all their lives, they are thrown into a confusing and scary situation, unsure of what the outcome may be.

A great piece that explores this is Eyes of Exodus, a short film directed and produced by Alexandra Liveris. With a runtime of about twenty-seven minutes, this documentary has received much recognition, including the Audience Award at Aspen Shortsfest, the Special Jury Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and “Best of the Month” as a Staff Pick on Vimeo. Featuring a wide array of interesting people and an empathetic view of the subject, Eyes of Exodus tells the story of the refugee crisis from the perspectives of those who are most affected by it.

Before being assigned a new home by the United Nations, some Syrian refugees must wait on Kastellorizo, a tiny Greek island just off the coast of Turkey. While many of the natives are welcoming to the asylum seekers, their presence still causes some commotion.

As a human-interest piece, Eyes of Exodus does a brilliant job of exhibiting a multitude of different opinions and attitudes. The views of both the refugees and the natives are fully represented, showing the complete spectrum of perspectives. Kastellorizo serves as a microcosm for an issue that is discussed the world over.

The people who host the refugees all have their own reactions to the predicament, with some who are happy to help and others who are disturbed by the newcomers’ arrival.

For instance, while one restaurant owner is concerned at how this situation will affect his business, another feels that the refugees benefit him financially. The Syrian guests also display a diverse range of emotions. One migrant desperately wants to get off the island to start her new life, but another feels that he is living in paradise. The stories of all these individuals are interwoven in a delightful way. If you want a great documentary that discusses an issue in a thoughtful way, give Eyes of Exodus a watch.