We all have those moments during which we think we have the biggest problems in the world. Whether it’s during an extremely important meeting, during an immensely busy rush hour or just during an emotional period with the family. However, most of those moments are passing by as quickly as they came but hey, that’s something we always forget. In other words, we seem to forget the goodness and remember the worst moment. The newest short film from director Paul Marques Duarte will put you with your feet back on the ground instantly. His extremely gripping and emotional “Harbor” (original title: “Find Harbour For A Day”) is about the immensely tough life illegal immigrants face and will make you realize that your life isn’t that bad at all.
Exciting times are ahead for English teacher Adèle (Marie Bunel) and her class of school children. They making their way to the ferry that will take them to Bournemouth for what hopefully be a wonderful trip. Everything seems to go relatively well until a 15 years old boy jumps in front of their bus. Luckily no one gets hurt during the accident but even when heading to security, everyone is still shaking up by the event. It’s getting even stranger again when they see the same young boy again right before going through customs. This time, he’s trying to fit into their class to get on the ferry and Adèle knows that the boy is being alone and has no papers.
As a teacher, she can’t bear to see children suffer but she also knows that if she takes the boy on the ferry this would be illegal. Her emotions take the upper hand and she guides the boy on board. While she’s trying everything she can to create a band between them, the boy is everything but talkative. It’s hard for Adèle to connect and when the boy is doing things he’s not supposed to do, it gets even more difficult. It all goes downhill during one night when he’s being caught by the security. What will happen to him and Adèle now that her actions are about to come to light?
While watching this movie, you might wonder if this movie is based on real-life or not. Well, yes and no. During our interview with director Duarte, he mentioned that he was helping at the refugee camp in Calais during which he met a young boy. That boy has been trying to get to the United Kingdom for a very long time and all of his attempts were illegal. After encountering this boy and hearing this story, Duarte helped him out by helping him apply for asylum in France because that would be much safer. It wasn’t only the start of a wonderful friendship it seems but also of this short movie. Especially after Duarte decided to attach co-writer Blandine Jet to this movie. Together, they turned this real-life experience into an emotional and special film.
A film that was made with tons of passion and dedication. In “Harbor”, the children and the teacher only did the trip just once but to be able to put this on screen in the best way possible, the cast and crew of this movie made the voyage between France and England more than ten times. As if that wasn’t difficult enough (because of people getting seasick), the filming itself was hard as well due to the immense size of the ship. It was extremely hard labour but the director would do it again in the same way. We understand why! This experience just gives this movie such a real-life feeling and we get the feeling that we’re with everyone on the boat.
Not only the filming was hard work but also finding the cast. It turned out to be a very unusual casting. If Adèle looks familiar to you, it would be very understandable as she’s being portrayed by the well-known French actress Marie Bunel (“Midnight Dreamers”, “Accidental Family”). Duarte mentioned that he wanted her to star in his film and decided to contact her via… Facebook. Not expecting a response, she got back to him with a “yes”. According to Duarte himself, not a lot of famous French actors are still doing short movies and independent films and so he couldn’t believe how lucky he was that she wanted to do it. He probably was even happier when he saw her giving a wonderful and immersive performance as the caring and worrying teacher with an immensely big hart for her kids. To find the children, Duarte held regular casting sessions. He saw a lot of children, of whom some had already experience. To make sure that the friendship between the children was portrayed in the best way possible, he decided to go for an existing class to portray them. This resulted in an even more authentic vibe!
“Harbor” recently sailed by the UK during the Raindance Film Festival and was loved by both the critics and the audience. Do you want to know why the praise this movie got so far is extremely well-deserved? Well, then check out this honest, beautiful and emotional short film and you will know it.
Film and Celebrity Reporter – Liselotte Vanophem