Virtual Reality: Film Analysis

Clouds over Sidra 

I thought this film did an excellent job in humanizing the individual experiences of Syrian refugees. By having a young girl narrate her own story, it brings a very innocent, compelling day-to-day picture of how the refugee crisis is faced each day by individuals actually experiencing it. The use of virtual reality gave a new, real-world perspective of how a child lives within the refugee camp (a perspective we don’t usually see). Throughout the film, the narrator kept discussing how she would like to “return home” and that many people in the camp would also like to return home. I would have liked to hear a bit more about this topic as western news has framed much of the crisis as people fleeing their homes and wanting to settle elsewhere. This film seems to imply that there are in fact many refugees who wish to eventually return home and I think a bit more discussion of that would have added further insight to the current crisis.   

Highway of Tears 

I was very interested in this film as I have studied the Highway of Tears in British Columbia in the past. I really enjoyed the way in which the film displayed the virtual reality of the highway both at night and during the day in order to show the audience how vast and isolated the stretch of road is. Additionally, having the mother talk about her daughter within the home was really powerful as the audience could see around her home and helped humanize both the victim and her family. I would have liked if there were more analysis into the added barrier of many of these unsolved crimes being perpetrated against Indigenous victims. As many of the victims from the Highway of Tears are Indigenous and therefore systematic profiling has resulted in many of the cases being left unsolved, I think the film would have benefited into a further discussion of Indigenous identity in conjunction with these murders. 

A city destroyed: The Halifax explosion 

This was a very informative film discussing an important moment of Canadian and Atlantic history. I thought the film did a good job providing the context for the explosion and how factors of the World War played a role in the explosion (something I had never heard before). The major issue I had with the film was the quality of animation. The quality of the animation was quite poor and became very distracting as it looked like a computer-rendered animation from a few decades ago. I found that the choice in using virtual reality for the whole film did not add value to the story but rather distracted the audience from truly understanding the scale and impact of this significant moment in Atlantic history.    

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