7.2/10
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1 user 23 critic

Les sauteurs (2016)

Mount Gurugu overlooks the Spanish enclave of Melilla on northern Africa's Mediterranean coast. The European Union and Africa are separated here by a high-security border facility ... See full summary »
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7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Mount Gurugu overlooks the Spanish enclave of Melilla on northern Africa's Mediterranean coast. The European Union and Africa are separated here by a high-security border facility consisting of three fences. Refugees, mostly from the sub-Saharan region, live in the tree-covered foothills, from where they try to cross the land border between Morocco and Spain. One of them is Abou Bakar Sidibé from Mali, who in Les Sauteurs is both the protagonist and the one doing the documenting. Written by anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary

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Country:

Denmark

Language:

French | Bambara

Release Date:

23 February 2017 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Ci, którzy skacza See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco

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Color
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References The Matrix (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Mouna
Written by Marian Doumbia
Universal Polygram Int. Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP)
Performed by Amadou and Mariam
Used courtesy of Tinder/Polygram Records
by arrangement with Universal Music Enterprises
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Abou Bakar Sibide (slight spoilers)
14 October 2016 | by PoppyTransfusionSee all my reviews

Abou is from Mali. He left Mali in 2013 and travelled via the Sahara to Morocco. There he, like so many other young men from West Africa, settled in a temporary camp in order to try and cross the land border between Morocco and Melilla, a Spanish territory -one of two - on Morocco's northern coast. The border consisted of four barbed wire fences, many metres tall, under video surveillance and protected by the Moroccan and Spanish police with brute force.

This film is the project of two former film students who are from Germany and Denmark. Their joint interest in Mount Gourougou and its migrant camp led them to make contact with Abou via a Meliilian photographer. They decided to let Abou make the film of life for the migrants so that it became a story from them rather than another about them. This film is the result of filming over an 18 month period whilst Abou tried to make it onto Melilla's Spanish soil, which he did in 2014. He is presently in Germany as an asylum claimant whose case has yet to be decided.

The film that has been edited by the three parties is compelling footage. It shows many facets of the migrant life on Mount Gourougou, which is raided on an almost daily basis by Moroccan police. The men scavenge for food. They have little personal effects and these are risked in police raids which result in everything being burnt by the police. The assaults on the fence result in death for some, as happens in the film to Abou's friend Mustapha. Yet the men have energy and enthusiasm for football. They sing songs about their experiences and dance. They are joined in the camp by stray dogs and some errant donkeys, including a foal who loves jumping around the camp - a poignant moment. The men find water for washing. They trade, barter and pray. In short, they do not stop being human because they have become "migrants" in a camp.

The film is very much on Abou's side; how could it be otherwise when it is filmed by him. It does not preach though and Abou and his compatriots are stoic and philosophical, if angry, about their predicament. It is fascinating whatever your view on the many migrant crises around the world where wealthy countries tighten borders to keep migrants out resulting in more migrants and more organisation to find passage.

NB Not all of the information in this review is in the film. Some of it was shared by one of the directors (Mortiz Siebert) in a Q/A session at the London Film Festival.


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