Stranger in Paradise
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    Stranger in Paradise

    Directed by



    72 min

    • English


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    "We don’t want you. We just can’t do it." In a classroom, a teacher uses math to explain to a group of refugees what their arrival will cost society. The asylum seekers try to refute the figures. They will work, won’t they, and contribute to society? The teacher shatters their illusions: half of them will never find work. In three acts, director and screenwriter Guido Hendrikx explains the European view of the refugee crisis. The man receives three groups of migrants, each time adopting a different attitude: dismissive in the first part, then full of empathy and good will in the second. In the last part, he represents actual European immigration policy, with all its complex rules. Hendrikx shows where the refugees’ dreams clash with reality and forces us to think hard about our own position. Is it human to categorize someone else’s life? The absurdity of the dilemma is expounded upon in the prologue and epilogue to this political essay.


    • Special Jury Award for Dutch Documentary - IDFA
    • Special Jury Mention - Documenta Madrid
    • FIPRESCI Award - Message to Man IFF



    Guido Hendrikx
    Emo Weemhoff
    Ella van der Woude
    Juho Nurmela
    Festival Bookings


    Stranger in Paradise is a blunt essay; rarely has the role of an “actor” been so charged and Dhaenens doesn’t hesitate.

    Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

    An arresting essay on refugee politics.

    Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

    Guido Hendrikx

    Guido Hendrikx


    By making films I’m trying to live and outlive reality, without any certainty. The medium feels like a religion, an imaginary obsession, with which I’m able to happily fool - and possibly reproduce - myself.

    Guido Hendrikx was born in Eindhoven in 1987 and studied at Utrecht University and the Netherlands Film Academy. His award-winning shorts ESCORT (2013) and AMONG US (2014) were featured at film festivals throughout the world. His feature debut STRANGER IN PARADISE (2016) was the opening film of IDFA. It was theatrically released in cinemas in Italy, the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands and nominated for the European Film Awards: Best Documentary. He has written several screenplays in collaboration with other directors (Ena Sendijarevic, a.o.) and worked as a curator for the video department of The Correspondent. A MAN AND A CAMERA (2021) is his newest work and was selected at CPH:DOX.

    Selected Filmography