As a change from discussion, we watched the film ‘The Visitor’. This is a moving account of ill-legal immigrants, who had been in the country for a number of years, apprehended after a no-fault incident, held in a detection centre and eventually deported despite the best attempts of friends and family. Besides the hospitality offered the illegible couple, there is also an underlying theme of the powerless – v – the powerful.
Hospitality is initially offered reluctantly, but as relationships and trust build, wider aspects of hospitality are also offered. The initial hospitality is also offered back – by cooking dinner, buying a newspaper, teaching drumming; common interests are discovered and shared eg music. All the characters are changed by these interactions with each other. Although hospitality is offered with no expectations, in this case (and maybe most cases) all parties are much the richer for the experience.
The film also had a powerful impact on those watching – mindful of the experiences of helplessness of those apprehended and held in detention centres in Australia.