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Refuge England (1959)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

An intercity train pulls into London, arriving at Waterloo Station. It is rush hour, and among its passengers, mostly commuters, is a Hungarian man, coming to London for the first time. He knows little about England and only one English word - "refugee".

As he leaves the station, he pulls from his pocket a card bearing a name, A.T. Cox, and an address, 25 Love Lane - given to him at the refugee camp from which he has come. Crossing the river, he makes his way North, watching people passing by and trying to accustom himself to his new surroundings. Arriving on The Strand, he reflects that 'strand', in his language, means a public bus.

Moving on, he is stopped by another foreigner, speaking an unfamiliar language. It becomes clear that the man is looking for The Strand, and the refugee is able to direct him. Newly confident, he approaches a newspaper kiosk to ask for directions to Love Lane.

After a series of confusing directions, he finally makes his way halfway across London, arriving at 25 Love Lane. But the man at the house looks at his card without recognition; it is clear that he has found the wrong house. Embarassed and depressed, he walks away. A policeman shows him several 'Love Lane's in the London A-Z.

Crossing London again, he begins to feel more and more estranged from London and its people. He wonders how long it will take him to fit in, and how the people he sees would respond if he was to work with them, or for them. He passes an escapologist act on the street, and watches for a while, baffled.