During the month of January and in solidarity with the world's millions of displaced peoples, Filmatique presents In Transit, a series of contemporary films that capture the transitory and precarious experience of fleeing one's home is search of safety, shelter, or the chance of a better life.
Felipe Guerrero's elliptical and atmospheric Oscuro Animal examines the lives of three women amid political violence in Colombia, a country that continues to face rising internal displacement despite the landmark 2016 peace agreement between the government and FARC. Boris Lojkine's Hope traces the obstacles faced by a young Nigerian woman as she makes her way to Europe, while Saïd Hamich's Return to Bollene centers not on migration itself, but rather its after-effects— delving into complex issues of identity, family and origins vis-à-vis the story of Nassim, a second-generation immigrant visiting his parents' adopted village in France.
Comprised of three narrative debuts— and spanning South America, Africa, and Europe— Filmatique's In Transit Series endeavors to bring visibility to the journeys undertaken by refugees across the globe, presenting their experiences with clarity, humanity and dignity.
Oscuro Animal, Felipe Guerrero / Colombia-Argentina-Netherlands-Germany-Greece, 2016
Three women inhabit war-torn regions of contemporary Colombia. Rocio returns from doing the laundry in a nearby stream to find her entire village destroyed, presumably by members of the revolutionary militia FARC. Mona lives reluctantly among the paramilitaries, forcibly impregnated by one of them and unable to escape until one night she stabs her keeper and flees into the jungle. Nelsa, a soldier herself, grows disillusioned by the surfeit of violence and seeks a better life in the city.
Inscribing the latest chapter of Colombia’s paramilitary history in the varying circumstances of three young women, Oscuro Animal elaborates the complexity of what remains among the world’s longest-standing conflicts. Felipe Guerrero’s debut feature premiered at Rotterdam, AFI, Camerimage, Jerusalem, and San Sebastián; Havana, where it won a Special Mention; Lima, where it won the International Jury Prize and Best Film; and Guadalajara, where it won Best Picture, Best Director & Best Cinematography.
Hope, Boris Lojkine / France, 2014
Leonard is a young man from Cameroon crossing the Sahara desert en route to Europe. After a punishing day of walking, a fellow traveler in the caravan is revealed to have been a woman passing as a man. Unlike the others, Hope is from Nigeria and her status within the group is now threatened, a matter made worse when she is singled out by a passing group of soldiers then left for dead. Leonard brings Hope to a refugee encampment in Morocco where she poses as his wife, binding their fate to reach Europe together.
Capturing the hostile landscape of the Sahara with haunting beauty and bracing naturalism, Hope weaves a tale of love and survival. Documentarian Boris Lojkine's first narrative feature premiered at Busan, Istanbul, and Zurich; Hamburg, where it won the Critics Award, and Cannes' Semaine de la Critique, where it won the SACD Award.
Nassim is a prosperous businessman living in Abu Dhabi with his American fiancée, Elisabeth. After several years of absence he returns to Bollene, the small town in France where he grew up. Nassim's parents are first-generation immigrants; his siblings have adapted to French life with varying degrees of success. Faced with complex new realities— the city is now governed by France’s far right— and a father with whom he does not speak, Nassim embarks on the difficult journey of encountering what he left behind.
By portraying a mid-thirties man successful in terms of his adopted environment but not his inherited culture, Return to Bollene expounds a rarely explored facet of refugee existence— what comes next. Saïd Hamich's first feature premiered at Festival du Cinéma Méditerranéen Manarat, Tübingen - Stuttgart Festival International du Film Francophone, and Festival France Odeon, where it won a Jury Special Mention.