Waiting (1987)

A film by Alex Milberg and Leen van den Berg

Political refugees are an age-old phenomenon. Decolonisation and a drive for freedom and independence after the Second World War means that the stream of refugees from developing countries has increased dramatically. In Western Europe in particular, in countries like the Netherlands, people seek a haven of refuge. In the last few years, the media has exposed the problems that refugees encounter here in dealing with institutional bureaucracies and finding accommodation.Much less is known about the social and emotional experiences of the refugees. From dealing with their troubled past when they often faced persecution and torture, to adapting to an unfamiliar and arrogant environment and the resulting isolation. In addition, their prospects for a new future decline as they longer and longer for a decision to be made on their application for asylum.

The dramatised documentary ‘Waiting’ attempts to show the emotional and social experiences of political refugees. The film is based on real events, drawn from conversations with political refugees. A choice has been made to use three central characters who each represent a continent and address the problems political refugees are confronted with.

Notable is the fact that the actors in this film are political refugees. In addition, the director was an Argentinean refugee, which contributed to the realistic nature of the film.


This film is available on DVD




35 minutes / colour / optical sound / 16mm / VHS / Beta SP
Director: Alex Milberg
Co-director: Leen van den Berg
Camera: Jan Groen
Sound: Hanneke Willemse
Producer: Leen van den Berg
Distribution: Nederlands Filminstituut te Hilversum
Sales: Kontrastfilm

This film was made with the financial support of the Dutch Film Fund and Dutch Refugee Counsil

© Kontrastfilm / FEDUCO 1987