By Meltem Bulur
The director of an award-winning movie portraying a Rohingya family has told Anadolu Agency he aimed to describe the difficulties faced by refugee children through his movie Passage of Life.
Japanese director Akia Fujimoto’s movie won the best Asian Feature film award at the 30th Tokyo International Film Award Festival last week.
The film is based on a real story of a refugee family who traveled all the way from Myanmar to live in Tokyo.
“I wanted to look at the issue thorough a different dimension. Refugees have been facing severe difficulties.
“In our movie, we tried to explain that their sufferings did not end even after taking shelter in another country,” the director said.
Fujimoto worked for four years on the movie, which was filmed in both countries.
"We particularly focused on what these children faced and what they saw.
“All I want is the happiness of children.”
The movie did not use any actors, but the family is an actual refugee family, comprising a mother and her two children from Myanmar.
Refugees in real life
The family in the movie, like many other families living in Myanmar, had travelled to Japan without passport following an anti-government protest in in 1988.
"These people have already faced these problems, and they did not need to act, they were playing the truth."
Fujimoto said that only the role of the father character was performed by a professional actor.
“Another matter that nobody thinks is these people have children.
"What these children will do, where they will go.
“This is the matter that affected me more. For example, my story explains that the sufferings of refugee children don’t end even after they return to their homeland Myanmar from Japan.”
The "Passage of Life" is based on a real-life story from early 2010. The director and the team of the movie production began working on it in 2014.
While the movie depicts the plight of a Rohingya family who fled their country due to the 1988 situation, hundreds of thousands of people from the community continue to suffer till this day.
Since Aug. 25, over 611,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.