1000 Voices

1000 Voices


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ever since the start of the war with Iraq, Britain's has been filling up with asylum seekers whom the authorities consider potentially suspect. Shut away in detention centres which remind many of them of the places they escaped from, these people live out lives entirely focused on a future which may never come. Some of them have been there for years. Many have no way of knowing how their cases are proceeding. They are completely stripped of influence over their own destinies. What happens to these people? How do they survive?

Not all of them do. Suicide is common, as this film reveals, but that's just one way out; there is also madness. Though it starts out with a lecture to a class delivered by a guy perhaps deliberately reminiscent of the school counsellor from South Park, this film quickly breaks down into a menage of moments, stark glimpses into the lives of all those lost individuals. It's animated, black and white, using a lot of silhouettes and disjointed lines, untrustworthy images which blur into one another, to give us an impression of their state of mind.

So does it work? That, too, is somewhat uncertain. It's certainly unsettling, haunting almost, but its quick edits and harsh use of sound will probably cause a lot of viewers to tune out before they really get the message. Likewise, the patronising nature of the initial narrative will annoy the converted and leave others disinclined to engage. With such powerful subject matter it would be difficult to make a film that didn't leave an impression, but there have been many better pieces of work made about the plight of those in detention. Ultimately, 1000 Voices speaks only to those who probably don't need to be told.

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2009
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Dark animation which gathers together voices of detained asylum seekers.
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Director: Tim Travers Hawkins

Writer: Tim Travers Hawkins

Starring: Adam Buxton, Tamsin Clarke

Year: 2009

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: UK

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