A still from 'Life on the Border'

29/02/2016 - 23:00
Ghobadi's New Film About Children Of Sinjar And Kobanê Screens At Berlin Film Festival

1 March 2016

ANF - Ali Güler

Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi’s latest film ‘Life on the Border,’ which tells the stories of 8 children from Kobanê and Sinjar (Shengal) who escaped IS brutality and ended up in refugee camps, was shown at the Berlinale recently.

Also produced by Ghobadi, the film was shown as part of the Berlin Film Festival and highlights the tragedy of Kurdish children. Shot by the children themselves the film tells the stories of those who escaped Islamic State attacks in Rojava, South Kurdistan and Syria.

The effects of the massacre the IS carried out in Shengal, the land of Êzîdî Kurds, in 2014 is felt even today. Thousands of Êzîdî women are still captives of IS, and tens of thousands of Kurdish Êzîdîs live in refugee camps across Northern, Western and Southern Kurdistan.

The world witnessed the biggest tragedy of our times two years ago in Shengal, but the voice of Êzîdîs was not heard. Bahman Ghobadi tries to carry the voices of some of the children onto the big screen.


Children shoot their own film

Directed by Shaho Nemat and produced by Ghobadi, the film uses documentary and fiction elements and carries traces from earlier Ghobadi movies such as ‘Turtles Can Fly,’ ‘A Time For Drunken Horses’ and ‘Songs From My Mother’s Country.'

Carrying the voice of Êzîdî children the film overwhelms the audience and simultaneously draws attention to the massacres and criticises the world’s silence on this issue.

Although not as successful as earlier Ghobadi films in terms of cinematography the film does have an emotional and gripping narrative. The film's half fiction and half documentary qualities create a disruption in the viewing, and the amateur actors’ performances are questionable. However, the film succeeds in giving the message it has, and the performance of Zohour Saeid at the end is particularly impressive…

There are thousands of sad stories

In a Q&A following the screening Shaho Nemat answered audience questions and and said that they had shot the film in 4-5 camps throughout 8 months. Nemat said that they worked 8 hours a day and worked together with 30 children in order to teach them different aspects of filmmaking, particularly screenwriting and recording. Nemat said that there were thousands of children with painful stories in the camps, and the film crew’s aim was to allow children to tell their own stories.

Children's letter to Merkel

The children in the film, Hazem Khodeideh, Basmeh Soleiman, Sami Hossein, Ronahi Ezaddin, Diar Omar, Delovan Kekha, Mahmod Ahmad and Zohour Saeid could not go to Berlin due to passport and visa problems, bu they wrote a letter German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which was read out to the audience by Shaho Nemat.

Edited by Kurdish Question

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