This post is about 2 movies and a book; 2 countries and the power they exert in matters of migration down to the pen.
If you have either read Chris Cleave’s Little Bee or seen The Visitor and Green Card, keep reading. Otherwise be wary of spoilers.
Sometime not long ago, I enrolled in a class on Migration and Human Rights. I still don’t know why I chose that focus as it was one of those general courses with 13 other themes and professors to choose from. Well, I did.
Group project time came and we were asked to choose, read, summarize, and present one of the select novels for the class in teams of 3 or 4.
I had made up my mind to read Little Bee- Interesting Title, England, Nigeria, Oil, Detention Centers- not bad, I thought. Quite a number of people in the class liked the same themes, so I decamped to another group and was assigned Snakehead.
Still, my interest was piqued, so I read Little Bee on my own and Chris Cleave added a new fan to his base.
Well-told story, adequately researched, but that ending…
My concern is not the ambiguity of the literal ending and the “let the reader figure the next and last three words flow”- She was shot or She ran away for themselves. After all, some books end in the middle of a sentence.
Rather, it is with the now famous ending that you can run, you can hide, but immigration would still find you.
No, I am not taking up arms for any social issues at this juncture. Still, I wonder why that ending can’t be re-written in the world of imagination, stories.
Maybe it is buried in a book or movie, but I am yet to find a happy ending immigration story. Actually, I once thought I had found one.
Eager to see Gerard Depardieu decades younger, I settled to watch Green Card with some friends.
Such a cute story. She looking for a roommate in order to be admitted in her desired apartment complex, He trying to be legal in the U.S. The solution- they get married.
Hang on. Remember there are no happy endings in fiction with immigration issues.
The unlikely couple weave through the most complex of circumstances and despite interview rehearsals and the insurmountable evidence of newly-found love, there can be only one ending. Deported.
I guess I gave up on immigration themed movies at that point, until I stumbled on The Visitor nestled in my local library DVD collection.
It had that warm Sundance Film Festival feel to it and I gladly checked it out.
So let it just be said at this moment that The Visitor is one of the best stories ever told and a movie one can see multiple times, but that ending…
I could cry, I did cry.
At least in the cases of Little Bee who should have been granted asylum and Georges who wormed his way into our hearts with his nuances, their deportation was easier to deal with. Not Tarek’s.
From being unjustly accused of jumping the turnstile to his being deported back to troubled Syria, I just couldn’t take it.
His mom felt the same way and got on the next to flight back to the country that murdered her journalist husband, which she had hoped to never return to.
Maybe it was the drumming or the bonding bor simply the fact that even in our imaginations that should be without borders, the law wins in the end.
Or can that now famous ending be revised?