Siebert, Wagner & Abou Bakar Sibidé: Les Sauteurs

I had been here on Mount Gurugu for fifteen months, when the two came and asked me if we could make a film, says the protagonist and filmmaker behind the camera, Abou from Mali, who like a thousand other Africans on this spot dream about coming to Europe. From where they are, in Morocco with a view from the mountain to Melilla, the Spanish city on the coast of North Africa.

But fences need to be crossed. They try and try and try again, some get over, others do not, some return to the camps on the mountain, a community that is organised, has its own rules, some return to their native country, and some die from injuries, when they get into fights with the police.

Abou is the one telling the story. His voice-off is full of reflection

and information, and communicates how he sees the world differently through the lens: ”I feel I exist when I film”. Abou will make a great film, one of the filmed ”brothers” say. And he was right, it is a great piece of work because it is able to create this atmosphere of waiting endlessly for the right moment to come for the jump.

It might sound like a very depressing documentary and indeed it’s not fun to experience what these young men go through. But they survive on the mountain, they dream about white women washing them so they get pale, they have a football match, Mali against Ivory Coast, they sing, they rap about their life situation and they discuss – in a very tough scene – what to do with a man, who has betrayed them by telling the Moroccan police about their escape plans. Embarrassing to watch that scene!

In between the shaky camerawork of Abou comes the anonymous images from the surveillance camera that shows us human beings like small insects on looong rows approaching the fences, or human beings climbing up, falling down or going down when they see the police waiting. Scary! And a scoop for the film to be able to make this contrast, yes Big Brother is watching you, go back to where you come from. You have no right to come to Europe. ”Yes, I have”, Abou has said earlier in the film, ”you Europeans have exploited us, giving us a poor life, now we want a decent life”. Words to that effect. I am glad this film has been made.

Denmark, 82 mins., 2016

English title: Those Who Jump.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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