Almost a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar live in the biggest refugee camp in the world, Cox Bazaar in Bangla Desh… Ai WeiWei has made a film from the camp. Danish editors Niels Pagh Andersen and Charlotte Munch Bengtsen watched, what footage Chinese camerapersons came back with and made what the director wished the film to be:
A slow, quiet meditative film with long sequences, no close ups (almost) but panoramic images and a recreation of sound as the sound that they had to work with came from the camera. Danish Henrik Gugge Garnov was the one who helped with that.
I got this information from what I would call a master’s class after the screening of the film in the Danish Cinemateket two days ago. Niels Pagh Andersen entertained the audience with his pedagogical skills answering questions from the audience that was, like me, impressed by the film, which is simply beautiful allowing or I would prefer to say inviting us to go ”into” the well composed images, study and learn above the life of refugees, who survive in the poor society they have formed with schools, churches, crafts, funerals, everyday activities like cooking, eating, washing the dishes, washing clothes in water that are taken up from underground, playing football.
In mostly stunning images you watch the human beings in the camp doing something– you study and think about their situation compared to your own, and you wonder what will be of the many children in the film, when they grow up. Are they to stay here, do they have a chance to leave the poverty, settle and build a decent life for themselves and their family? You see the energy of the children, when they play with or without a football, or when they go to get water for the family – and you think they will make it. Hope?
Editor Niels Pagh Andersen, called ”the skinny romantic” by Ai Weiwei, and his co-editor let us leave the film full of the atmosphere the film establishes so well. Far from reportage, far from pouring information towards the spectator, it’s a film that finds humanity in the life of refugees.
Signed by a refugee as he is himself, Ai WeiWei.
2021, 122 mins.