Shot over a period of eight months, this sensitive and intimate portrait of an Afghan mother of two, follows the daily challenges of life in a Greek refugee camp, where thousands wait for their asylum applications to be processed.
In February of 2020, Nasim, a 38-year-old Afghan woman, and her family fled from Iran to Greece via Turkey. Here they ended up in the Mória Reception and Identification Centre. Located on the island of Lesbos, it was the largest of the European refugee camps and one of several EU ‘hotspots’, where refugees were held while their applications for asylum in the EU were being processed. One month later, in March 2020, filmmakers Ole Jacobs and Arne Büttner arrived in Mória. They had been commissioned by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to report on the situation in the camp, which by the end of 2019 was housing 20,000 refugees. Here they met Nasim, who approached them and engaged them in a conversation. Not long after, they started filming her and her family’s life in the camp until it was destroyed by a fire in September 2020.
We see Nasim interacting with her sons, Alireza and Mohammad, and her husband Shamsullah, whom she was forced to marry when she was 13 years old. We are their when her sister challenges her to free herself from that unhappy marriage. We witness how she and her husband rehearse answering the difficult questions that are part of the asylum interview. Slowly the image of a shy and kind, but also strong and curious woman emerges. Rather than dwelling on the misery the Mória refugee camp was notorious for, the film picks up on Nassim’s resilience and her ability to maintain hopeful in the face of the confines imposed on her by the patriarchal structures prevalent in the camp and an inhuman refugee policy.
After the Mória camp burnt down, several EU-funded Closed Controlled Access Centres have been established in Greece, where refugees are highly restricted in their movement and subject to surveillance. Nassim now lives in Germany, but thousands of refugees are still stuck en route, their lives often on halt for years.
Germany 2021, colour, 120 min. With English subtitles.
Director: Ole Jacobs, Arne Büttner. With Nasim Tajik, Shamsullah Tajik, Mohammad Tajik, Alireza Tajik, Sakin Rahimi, Qasim Mohammadi, Moahna Rahimi, Maghol Hassani, Mahya Rahimi