In February 2002 in the Shamshatoo Refugee Camp in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, there are 53,000 refugees living in sub-human conditions since 1979 with the Soviet Union ...
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In February 2002 in the Shamshatoo Refugee Camp in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, there are 53,000 refugees living in sub-human conditions since 1979 with the Soviet Union invasion and 2001 with the USA bombing and invasion of Afghanistan. The family of the Afghan Enayat and his cousin Jamal decides to send them illegally to London to have a better life. They hire coyotes to smuggle the cousins through Iran and Turkey to Italy and finally London hidden inside trucks and containers. However, the long journey locked in a container with other families poses a terrible challenge to the boys. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The film had two working titles before settling on its final name. While it was being shot, it was known as "The Silk Road". This was primarily as a cover, since officials in many countries were told the film was a documentary about that historical subject. Later, it was known as "M1187511", which was the UK Home Office's file number for the real-life Jamal's application for refugee status. Before its release however, the title was changed to "In This World". As Michael Winterbottom describes on the DVD, the title came from a line in the film where Jamal was translated as saying that a central character was dead. Jamal informed Winterbottom, on seeing this, that it was inaccurate. What he had actually said was that the man was "no longer in this world". Hence the film's title. See more »
This is Jamal, calling from London. Yes... yes, I got to London. Enayat? He's not here. He's not in this world.
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Michael Winterbottom, I thought, was a director worth watching (I had seen his film "Jude") but I was sorely disappointed with this film that was bestowed with a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film festival--a festival that often picks up fine cinema for its honors. I saw "In this world" at the on-going Dubai international film festival expecting to see top-notch cinema.
Instead of great cinema, I saw a film that flounders in its effort to capture reality. Winterbottom and cinematographer Marcel Zyskind capture young faces and their action creditably (the young sibling who follows his brother as he leaves the refugee camp) at times and then slip up to the most shoddy camera-work soon after (local Pakistanis staring at the camera, shadows of vehicles carrying camera equipment on road sequences). The film attempts to capture fiction in a documentary style. The effort is commendable but the outcome is at best an average effort at highlighting the problem of refugees.
The film begins with statements on the ration provided to refugees. A great beginning with shots of a real refugee camp. Then I was appalled to see shots of women dancers being showered with currency notes and a gruesome sacrifice/killing of an ox--sequences that add no value to the rest of the film.
What is the film trying to state? Refugees are in a bad shape and they need to escape. Is Winterbottom suggesting that those who succeed are heroes and those who do not are tragic figures? Is he trying to make a statement on cultural values across borders?
I feel Winterbottom could have served better purpose if he had retained the elements of documentary and discussed the problems of refugees than dramatize the journey itself. If he wanted to dramatize the journey--what are the shots of the dancing women doing here?
Berlin has made a wrong choice--not that Winterbottom lacks in talent. But this is mixed-up cinema
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