What Chèche Lavi really does is personalize the story of immigrants, who are stalled on the border. You empathize with the fact that Roben and James are stuck and lost. It’s also not forgotten that the two fled their homes in Haiti to find new ones in the U.S. but may never get there. At one point, before the election, James is let into the U.S. early, and he disappears into the system. Now Roben is left alone by his friend and leaves a lengthy message on James’ phone. A message he knows James will never hear. Roben quickly starts to lose hope with nowhere to go. No plan B, if you will.
One could interpret Chèche Lavi as a political film, and you are probably not wrong. While it doesn’t question U.S. immigration policy, it is discouraged by it. We look at the hopelessness of the Haitians and then spin it to a political fight between them and us. We’ll post on social media about how badly “these poor people” are treated and then go on with our lives, expecting the government to do something.
“…is about making us feel and empathize about the current immigration crisis…”
But what Chèche Lavi really does is humanize the problem. Roben and James are human beings, as we are too. They find themselves in an extraordinary circumstance that sets them apart from us. We have homes, jobs, friends, and family. They don’t. If there is a negative to Ellison’s documentary, it moves slow. But then you’d never associate “faster pace” to themes of loneliness, longing, and limbo.
Chèche Lavi‘s importance as a film is about making us feel and empathize about the current immigration crisis, and it is quite effective in doing just that. It gives a face to a problem that we don’t see. It’s a reminder about how lucky we are to have what we have. As well as understand that it’s not so easy to just “go back where you came from.” Then again, I’m not so sure the answer is to open the floodgate and let everyone in. There are also no easy solutions, but I can even say that neither side in Washington is eager to solve it as well.