The problem with films like Attractive Illusion is that they tend only to attract audiences from amongst those who are already aware of the issues (in this case the fate of illegal immigrants into Europe). This is a shame, because this film deserves a wide audience not only because of the issues it addresses, but because it is a compelling, moving and powerful film.
A group of Nigerians are seen escaping to Greece in the belly of a cramped boat that is barely big enough for them. Once in their new home, they soon discover that they are not welcome, being moved on by the police and finding it hard to find honest work. One of the guys moves from selling CDs on a street stall to selling drugs; another decides that lazing around in bed for most of the day, dreaming of a big house is the answer. Meanwhile the women move into prostitution. Outgoing Enor seems to adapt to her new life with gusto, dancing with abandon and flirting happily with her clients and posing proudly in her sexy clothes. Amen meanwhile works at first in a kitchen and is forced into prostitution by the owner of the bar where Enor works. Amen shrinks from the very thought of selling her body cowers under dirty bedclothes when she's with a client and is raped by the bar owner.
It is a grim life they've all found, with no prospect of making a living by honest means. However at least for the majority of the film, we see that not everything is bleak, there are real friendships and romance, spontaneous sing-alongs and day trips. Ultimately though, everyone's lives spiral out of control and there can only be a tragic ending to the story. It certainly becomes clear that the idea of Europe as offering a golden future is only an illusion.
Not easy viewing, this is however an important film. I hope it gets released into cinemas in the near future.
Attractive Illusion is showing at Edinburgh International Film Festival at 20:00, 30 June Cineworld 11.
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended a free press screening of this film.