Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

#WatchReadThinkAct 2022: Hostile


View Linked Books

We're over the moon to be bringing back last year's collaboration with Take One Action, the UK’s leading global change film festival.

This year, our pals over at the festival have created an absolutely stunning, carefully curated program of films to move hearts, change minds and provoke action, all based on the meaning of the earth beneath our feet: 'land as material, as power, and as terrain for violence and resistance'.

Under the banner of #WatchReadThinkAct we'll be releasing a reading list for each programmed film, every week until the start of the Edinburgh festival (16 - 18th Sep). Each list is curated by one of our booksellers who, having watched the film, suggests pathways for further exploration through a list of books. We'll also include links to grassroots organisations and international campaigns tied to the subject matter of each film: a toolkit for watching, reading, thinking and acting.

Check out the previous posts for the films 'Delikado' and 'Foragers'.

For this instalment, Mairi has watched 'Hostile' (2021), directed by Sonita Gale:

Hostile opened with one of my favourite pieces of pandemic writing, a quote from the inimitable Arundhati Roy:

"Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."

The hope, and the possibility in those words, as well as the sense of history, captures so much about the documentary too.Much has been written about the UK's hostile environment, and I've included some favourites on that front below. What Hostile highlights however is how little we see, hear or read from the perspective of those individuals actually caught in the web of laws and bureaucracy that form the hostile environment.

Urgent, current and often heartbreaking, Hostile shines a light on the particular experience of migrants through the pandemic and the cruelty of a system that denied thousands access to public support. It revisits the human fallout of the Windrush scandal and its historical precedents. These stories sit side-by-side with those of the many migrants whose care, kindness and dedication kept our nation ticking - fed, warm, valued, protected. They highlight our nation's capacity to care and to welcome, as much as to exclude.It's powerful, rage-inducing footage and a vital reminder that today's cost of living crisis is not new - we did not heed the pleas of those who went cold and hungry and homeless during the pandemic. As with all such crises, it hit them first, and now it's swallowing the rest of us.

Presciently, the documentary connects immigration controls to other punitive state measures - including restrictions on protest. We're facing a great fight, and our capacity to fight it is being systematically broken down - we need community solidarity and grassroots organising now more than ever.

Still from the film Hostile of a black man's face in close-up profile, the background is out of focus

For groups and campaigns to support and ways to organise around migrant justice, check out the links below:

Edinburgh Anti-Raids

No Evictions

MORE (Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment)

The Welcoming


HiMRA (Highland Migrant and Refugee Action)

Check back in for our next #WatchReadThinkAct list! Take One Action's program of screenings and additional online short films is available on their website HERE.

The Take One Action logo in pink

Linked Books