I’m struggling to put my emotions into words after what I’ve just experienced, but I feel like this is an issue that needs to be raised, so I’ll give it a go. Today Mission Australia hosted a movie premiere event of I, Daniel Blake – a British-French film that has one many awards and is hands down one of the most effective films I’ve watched. This movie’s about a 59-year-old carpenter who lives in the UK and continuously struggles against the government red tape when he tries to apply for various government benefits, such as health benefits, workers benefits and jobseekers benefits.
From the tedious wait, to the outrage, then the deferrals or the sanctions. This film sheds light on the impossibility in having a say in a modern-day faceless bureaucracy, which ironically established these benefit systems in the first place to have the sole intention of helping people. While this is set in the UK, Australia, and many other countries, is just the same.
For me, this film was a war cry for politicians, policy makers and those who work for the government to reassess society’s essential needs and the establishment of the social system. While I’m not entirely sure of a way that we as powerless taxpayers can provide first-hand help, I think the least that we can do is to raise awareness. It’s our way of keeping the conversation alive and at least providing some sort of political pressure.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much in a film as I did in this one (and I’m the type of person who’s always the first one to start crying in movies), and I also don’t think I’ve had as many gut-wrenching gasps while sitting inside the cinemas either. Walking out of the cinemas, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Bloodshot is an understatement for what I saw, but looking around, everyone was the same. Tissues being pulled out from handbags, sporadic blowing of the nose, gentle rubbing of the eyes.
I, Daniel Blake is realistic, sincere and human. Please, I beg of you, go watch this film. Wherever you are in the world, it’s relevant.
“I am not a client, customer or service user. I am a man, a citizen. Nothing more, nothing less.”