Netflix Releases Stateless, a Series based on True Events that Explores What it Means to be a Refugee

STATELESS uses a white woman's true story as a Trojan Horse to introduce us to a brutal detention center in the Australian desert. The series is co-produced, created, and directed by Academy Awards winner, Cate Blanchett.

Academy winner and international star Cate Blanchet said in a press statement, “It is my hope that Stateless will build empathy.”

STATELESS  is based on the true immigration case of Cornelia Rau, a mentally ill Australian woman who was unlawfully detained in 2004 at an immigration center in the Australian desert and the nightmare that ensued.

Cate Blanchett and Dominic West in “Stateless” Ben King / Netflix
STATELESS (L to R) CATE BLANCHETT as PAT MASTERS, DOMINIC WEST as GORDON MASTERS, and MARTA DUSSELDORP as MARGOT in episode 103 of STATELESS Cr. BEN KING/NETFLIX © 2020

Under the skillful direction of Blanchet,  the series weaves together the story of four strangers who find themselves at the same detention center. The major themes explored are loss of identity under an immigration and refugee system that crashes under its bureaucratic weight and the innate contractions of border protection. Blancett’s inspiration came from her experience and observations as a Goodwill Ambassador, a role she has held since 2016, with the UNHCR.

Blanchett said, “It is my hope that Stateless, a project that actually has grown up separately from my work with UNHCR but brings together two worlds for me, will build empathy and understanding for refugees, particularly those who have been and still are in detention.”

“We live in a world where about one per cent of all humanity is now displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. Through Stateless, I hope to prompt people to rethink how they and we all are responding to the current displacement crisis. To understand what it means to lose your home, your country, your identity. To get people to empathize and to ask questions,” she said.

The stellar cast includes actor  Dominic West (The Affair), Yvonne Strahovski featured in the main image of this article, who is most recently known for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale, another story about belonging and loss of identity, Cate Blanchett as a cult leader and the phenomenal Fayssal Bazzi as Ameer, whose journey to Australia is filled with sorrow and losses. The series has generated some head-scratching reaction due to its almost all-white cast and its focus on a caucasian woman.

When asked about the controversy, Strahovski, said in a statement, “Well, look, I think there’s a lot of things to discuss around the issue of race. I think it’s definitely a big point that it is a white Australian woman that is the Trojan horse into this story. I think there’s something to be said for the fact that a lot of people need that Trojan horse to be the white Australian woman for the rest of the stories to be relatable. Certainly in real life, when there was a white Australian woman in a detention center in Australia, it brought a huge spotlight to what was going on in the detention centers there, which were at the time onshore. Now we have offshore detention centers in Australia.”

stateless-fayssal-bazzi
Image via Netflix –  Center, the phenomenal Fayssal Bazzi as Ameer.

Cast. Yvonne Strahovski as Sofie Werner. Asher Keddie as Claire Kowitz. Fayssal Bazzi as Ameer. Marta Dusseldorp as Margot. Dominic West as Gordon. Cate Blanchett as Pat. Jai Courtney as Cam Sandford. Soraya Heidari as Mina.

“Stateless” is streaming now on Netflix.

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