Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Written by Tony Grisoni
In This World tracks the story of two Afghan refugees attempting to make their way from a Pakistani refugee camp to the promised land of London, England. There's a sequence late in the film of the main characters working in Italy, which brings to mind the work of Rossellini and De Sica from Italy's post war Neorealist movement. It isn't solely an homage because In This World is a modern-day Neorealist film, capturing the genre with its use of non-actors, natural lighting and a plot that is a realistic portrayal of the day-to-day struggles in people's lives. It is a poignant tale presented in such an honest and unobtrusive way that I couldn't remember if I was watching a documentary or a work of fiction, which is was great art does.
Enayatullah and his family were among the throngs of Afghans who fled to safety as the United States attacked Afghanistan and the Taliban. They ended up in a Pakistani refugee camp. It is decided that Enayatullah will go to London so he can make some money to help the family. Enayatullah's younger cousin Jamal, who's around 15 years old, accompanies him because Jamal speaks a little English. The family can't afford airfare, so the cousins have to make the trip by land, which is a difficult proposition due to all the borders that have to be crossed and the black market dealings involved in the illegal transportation of people. Payoffs have to be made two or three steps in advance and there's no assurance that the next group of contacts will be found so the trek could come to a sudden dead end at any time. Their journey to England takes them from Pakistan through Iran, Turkey, Italy and France. Their modes of transportation include but aren't limited to buses, military vehicles, the backs of trucks, being locked in box for 40 hours on a freighter, and even sneaking across borders on foot passed armed guards.