“RATS THAT EAT MEN”— A Gay Refugee in London

“Rats That Eat Men”

A Gay Refugee in London

Amos Lassen

Unaware of each other’s presence in a crumbling townhouse, Ritah (Anna-Maria Nabiyre) is squatting in the basement, on the run from a marriage of convenience which has gone wrong and everyone is a potential threat. In the same building in the attic, Polish laborer Alojzy (Joseph Olivennes) is avoiding calls from his mother as he looks at his home, London, filled with excitement The first meeting of the two of them frightens both of them, but sharing a home means they are stuck with each other. They cannot escape of avoid escape each other’s presence and eventually they warm to one another’s idiosyncrasies and try to help each other deal with each’s different struggles.

Many have come to London seeking asylum and most Londoners think that if one does not have a good reason for being there they should be allowed into the country even though they are running away from horrible situations. It is even harder for gay people who are leaving their countries to save their own lives.

Here we follow gay refugee Ritah who has escaped persecution in Uganda and is now homeless on the streets of London, squatting in an abandoned building with only a knife to protect herself. She discovers that she’s not living there alone, as a young Polish man, Stanislau (Ivo De Freitas) is sleeping upstairs. After some initial wariness and distrust, they begin to bond. Ritah tells of what she left behind and how much it cost her to get out causing us to think about why squatting in London is better than her life before, as well as her consideration of the dangers and anonymity of living on the edge of British society.

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