The refugee crisis has dominated recent international news, but we are regularly left only to imagine what the refugee experience truly entails, or merely to capture brief glimpses and snapshots. FRONTLINE’s Exodus, by contrast, focuses on five journeys across 26 countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Boldly and refreshingly, James Bluemel eschews the need to render his subjects pathetic, instead showing their humanity and their attempts to keep this humanity in the face of their journey. Harrowing images therefore interlace with touching depictions of, for instance, a family joking together as they hike through the rain. And the documentary moves with great skill between its subjects, drawing from footage shot by both the subjects and the filmmakers. We see refugees locked in the back of long-distance trucks, setting out across the Aegean Sea, piled on pickups in the Sahara, and swimming under the cover of night. Exodus depicts its subjects’ individuality but also their common experiences of living under constant threat, of their feelings of placelessness and alienation, and of their desires to begin again. For offering an image of the refugee journey that is both intimate and grand, Exodus earns a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producer: Raney Aronson. Producer: James Bluemel. Writer: James Bluemel. Director: James Bluemel. Executive Producer, KEO Films: Andrew Palmer. Executive Producer, KEO Films: Will Anderson. Lead Editor: Simon Sykes. Senior Producer: Dan Edge. Managing Editor: Andrew Metz.