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Journey of Hope
(Reise der Hoffnung)
Switzerland/Turkey - 1990
Directed by Xavier Koller


An impressive tale of human desperation and the incredible sacrifices made in search of hope.  The head of a Kurdish family longs for a better life than he can offer to his wife and seven children in Turkey.  A relative has sent a postcard from Switzerland, gloating about the new life and fortune that he has found there.  Haydar (Necmettin Cobanoglu) decides to sell his livestock and possessions and move his family to Switzerland.  Not having enough money to secure passage for his entire family, he chooses to take his wife and his brightest son, leaving the other children with their grandparents until he can afford to send for them.  So begins the journey toward a new life, or hope.  Heartbreak awaits the three travelers as they are taken advantage of by their own countrymen. The little money that they have is quickly swindled away from them and they must rely on their own resources to make the last leg of the journey, on foot through the Swiss Alps.

We thought the scenes of both rural and urban Turkey were fascinating.  An exceptional musical score by Terje Rypdal expresses the rich Kurdish culture.

Journey of Hope won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (1991), as well as the Bronze Leopard (Xavier Koller) from the Locarno International Film Festival (1990).

Runtime:  105 minutes


Guest Comments

From:  Patrice Lempereur

"Monsieur Koller,

Votre film a été diffusé sur un poste belge flamand vendredi 29/01/99.
Je ne connais pas suffisament de mots pour vous exprimer ma reconnaissance pour votre film : la qualité des images, du scénario, le jeu des acteurs, l'exactitude, la qualité des personnages.
Votre film fait mal, on ne peut blâmer ce pauvre père de famille, et on souffre autant que lui quand il retrouve sa femme et doit lui expliquer l'absence de leur fils.
J'ai toujours considéré que les immigrés quelque soit leur situation dans notre pays (ou ailleurs) ne choississent pas cette situation, et ne saurait jamais être totalement heureux dans leurs pays d'expatriation.
Vous le montrez merveilleusement : que la turquie campagnarde est belle sous le soleil, et combien est dur l'europe sous la neige, le froid.
L'homme est affreux soit qu'il exploite son compatriote, ou qu'il applique mécaniquement la loi.
Votre film devrait être montré beaucoup plus souvent, à beaucoup plus de monde, afin d'empêcher les tendances xénophobes si fréquentes et probablement un rien naturelle, et surtout pour empêcher la propagation des idées de l'extrème droite.
Votre film est le deuxième chef d'oeuvre que j'aie vu dans ma vie : le premier était ""le choix de sophie"" avec Merryl Streep.
Dans ces deux films, le spectateur assiste au destin abominable d'humain, et se rend compte qu'il n'est pas possible de juger, de critiquer, de condamner : on ne peut que compatir, se solidariser, protéger.
Merci pour votre film."

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