Reflection Paper - Movie Review Example

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The Visitor takes us through a compelling and nuanced story, set in a version of New York that is gritty and desolate, close to reality, as opposed to the glamorous and glossy version of the Big Apple like we are used to seeing in Hollywood and television. It revolves around the…
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Issues in Diversity The Visitor (Reflection Paper) The Visitor takes us through a compelling and nuanced story, set in a version of New York that is gritty and desolate, close to reality, as opposed to the glamorous and glossy version of the Big Apple like we are used to seeing in Hollywood and television. It revolves around the interactions between the widowed (and seemingly depressed) Professor Walter Vale, who visits his Manhattan apartment to find that it is being lived in by Tarek Khalil, a Syrian musician, and Zainab, a Senegalese who sells handmade trinkets on the street. The trio form a hesitant and unexpected friendship, and we see the Professor start to reconnect with life and engage with issues that he had never considered before.
This is portrayed compellingly through the transition we see from Vales hesitant music lessons in classical piano (which is shown to be a talent of his late wifes), to learning the African drum from Tarek, something which he seems to have a knack for. It comes to the point that Vale joins a drummers circle and for the first time in years begins to reconnect with the world around him.
Things take a turn for the worse when Tarek is arrested and thrown into a detention centre for illegal immigrants. As Vale hires a lawyer to help Tarek, he starts to navigate a world he had never expected to encounter, or even given much thought to. Tareks mother arrives in the picture unexpectedly, looking for her son- and soon a friendship of quiet domesticity and real affection blossoms between the two.
What is evident in the spirit of the film, and one that applies to the diversity issue in present discourse is the opposition between bureaucracy and humanism. Laws and statues are cold, and applied without any form of compassion or inquiry about the human it is being enforced upon. By bringing to us a picture from the other point of view, of the subaltern whose voice is nowhere to be found, we find that it is impossible to turn a blind eye to the system, which in the case of immigration laws, especially, is insensitive and unflinching, a perversion of ideals that claim to serve humanity, and uphold the value of life before everyone else. Which is of course where the debate regarding the diversity issue comes in. Does race, colour, ethnicity or rationality decide which life is to be valued and which is not? Who deserves the help of the system and who should be turned away?
The diversity issue is not something that can just be construed as a morality lesson in a film- it exists today in society, in what can be termed first world countries, where they have a very real presence, despite all allusions made to the freedom and humanitarianism of these places. The ones who suffer are always the voiceless ones, the ones who have no names, no rights, and no representation. What The Visitor does is not offer a happy ending, but a real one, one that can invoke a debate within oneself, and hopefully can spill over into the mainstream discourse, where people can come to terms with its existence and try to resolve it.
The Visitor. (2007). Read More
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