Escape to Paradise (2001)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Political Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Switzerland   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

A man seeking a better life for his family may have to lie to get it -- and pay handsomely for that privilege -- in this realistic drama. Sehmuz (Duzgun Ayhan) and his wife, Delal (Fidal Firat), are a Kurdish couple who have fled political persecution in their homeland and are seeking asylum in Switzerland for themselves and their three children. While Sehmuz's authentic tale of woe would seem to be enough to convince Swiss authorities to allow him to stay, his friend, Aziz (Nurettin Yildiz), confronts him with the ugly truth that 90 percent of Kurdish refugees are turned away by the Swiss government on the grounds that their claims don't appear plausible. Aziz, who is also seeking asylum in Switzerland, has hired a "storyseller," who for a price will manufacture a tale (with appropriate documents to match) that's likely to convince immigration authorities to grant a exile residency papers. Delal is opposed to this notion and tells Sehmuz that he should tell his interviewer the truth, but Sehmuz decides Aziz is has a point, and sells many of the family's valuables to pay a storyseller (Walo Luond) to spin a believable tale for him. However, Sehmuz discovers his investment may have been for naught when Aziz's storyseller fails to deliver the goods and his request for asylum is denied. Duzgun Ayhan, himself a political refugee now living in Sweden, won the Best Actor honors at the 2001 San Sebastian Film Festival for his work in Escape to Paradise.