Go Home

Ooft! Powerful short film.

Go Home is about a burnt-out Polish Scot immigration officer doing a processing interview with a young Palestinian woman applying for asylum here. I loved this film for so many reasons.

First, it blows out the water the myth that ‘we don’t have racism here’ in Scotland. This is one we really like to tell ourselves. Scotland is a welcoming, progressive country, and racism is ‘an English thing’. It’s horseshit of course, but it is the refrain time and again, whenever you see a surge in the popularity of far-right parties, it’s always down south, as though that phenomenon stops at the border. As though the rise of the EDL didn’t inspire the formation of the SDL. And as though racism is only racism when the far-right do it, as though it isn’t part and parcel of our everyday lives, baked in to our society.

I loved how this film managed to be nuanced, avoid being reductive, while still making the structures and culture of racism clear. The staff of the immigration centre looks almost like a microcosm of that famed success of multicultural Scotland, all races, all religions, natives and migrants alike, all co-existing harmoniously, to manifest structural racism, to keep out foreigners, to keep Britain as white and Christian as possible.

The immigration officer, Amelia, has had enough. She’s had enough of the bullshit. She’s had enough of walking past ‘Us First’ posters. Had enough of Brexit and UKIP and the hostile environment. Had enough of trying to get the numbers down, finding any excuse to reject a claim, to send people back to their deaths. Although the first shots of the film are of Haya, the refugee, this is really Amelia’s story.

Joanna Kaczynska gives a really good performance, and makes Amelia sympathetic despite the fact she is set up to be the roadblock to this young Palestinian girl’s dreams of living in peace, getting an education, and building a safe future. I was just watching her and thinking, what you doing holding up this racist institution, just stop. And you’re fighting the logic of, what does that achieve, they’ll just hire someone else, but good, it won’t be you. You’ll not be part of this anymore. In a world where they control the capital, all you can do is withhold your labour. Just don’t fucking do it.

The theme Tiny Changes really applies to this film. It’s all about incremental change. How Amelia got to the end of her rope, the culture of xenophobia in this country, it came in a thousand small steps. It gets better the same way.