A new documentary lays bare the flight of African migrants
On the road without documents can be dangerous
London, September 22, 2018 (AltAfrica)-A Paris-based Ivorian refugee retraced the dangerous route he took through Africa to escape civil war and produced Revenir, eye-opening documentary screened at the African Film Festival in Cologne, Germany
The documentary is based on the story of Imesh, who fled civil war in the Ivory Coast in 2004, making his way to Morocco and later on to France.
In the film, he returns to Africa to retrace his escape route, only now equipped with a camera and the support of Fedele.
Their paths first crossed in Morocco: Kumut Imesh, an Ivorian refugee, and David Fedele, an Australian filmmaker. Fedele needed a Bambara and French translator for a project and was introduced to Imesh.
“So this is where the original spark of the idea came,” said Fedele. Three years later, their cinematic collaboration –Revenir(The Return) – was released
Revenir was featured at the 2018 Africa Film Festival in Cologne, which runs until September 23.
In the film he talks to migrants he encounters as he travels through Senegal, Togo and Ghana.
“I thought that this was a way to tell a new story. To tell it from a new perspective, and even more importantly, from the perspective of somebody on the inside, who was forced to make this journey himself,” said Fedele.
The movie is largely without music or special effects. “We are not telling anybody how they should think or how they should feel. It’s just a raw document of life on the road trying to show it in its reality,” he said.
Hard journey to Europe
Imesh said he wanted to highlight the realities of migration, not only for the benefit of Africans. Not everyone understands that refugees and asylum seekers who make the journey abroad don’t do so by choice, or appreciates how hard the journey to Europe actually is.
“We are not telling them to stay or to move, but we are just telling them: This is the reality. If you want to move or stay, you have to take it into account,” he said.
Imesh fled from one country to the next until he arrived in Marocco. He spent seven years in the North African country before he was granted asylum in France.
“That was important for both of us: To stop or to smash this idea that people have that so many people are leaving just to arrive to Europe,” said Fedele.