2017 Exile

Exile (2017) Directed by Zoe Beloff

At the International Film Festival Rotterdam


An interesting case of reincarnation: Walter Benjamin and Bertold Brecht (who were in Denmark together in the 1930s, fleeing the Nazi regime) are alive and kicking in 2017 in New York and take the Staten Island Ferry together. Only, their travel in time has introduced a few minor corrections: Brecht is now an Iranian, Benjamin has returned as an African American. “So what?” asks Brecht. “Refugees look different today.”

The two roam New York, where Uber taxis drive around and Trump is presented as a ventriloquist’s dummy. The streets have changed, but the fascism of the 1930s has not been frozen in time. On occasions a comic duo, on others the voice of our conscience, the babbling Brecht-Benjamin duo still provides good weapons to attack the world. And that is necessary, according to director Zoe Beloff: “We are not finished with the past, and the past is not finished with us.” (synopsis from IFFR)