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Those Who Jump: “The future lies beyond the fence”


- Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner have made an immersive documentary about migrants attempting to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Africa

Those Who Jump: “The future lies beyond the fence”

There are over 1,000 people on Mount Gurugu, Morocco, who dream of trying their luck in neighbouring Melilla – to all intents and purposes, Spain. Germany’s Moritz Siebert and Denmark’s Estephan Wagner lent a camera to Abou Bakar Sidibé, a young Malian man living on this mountain for the time being, so that he could provide photographic evidence of his life and those of his companions. The documentary Those Who Jump [+see also:
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, unveiled in the Forum section of the 2016 Berlinale, was presented a few days ago in the Documentary Competition of the Crossing Europe Festival in Linz.

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Sidibé had been living on Mount Gurugu for 15 months when he was contacted by Siebert and Wagner. Over the course of several weeks, first of all in return for money, and then gradually just out of the sheer pleasure of filming (Sidibé is incidentally credited as a director), he documents his life and those of his brothers in misfortune. A life made up of struggles and the strict rules laid down according to each individual nationality of those living in the camp; a life of poverty and hope, of ad hoc rap sessions and football matches; but above all, a life of waiting. To even hope to get out of the living hell of the forest and gain access to this slice of “Europe in African territory”, the Malian and Ivorian migrants (as well as those of other nationalities) must wait for night to fall in order to band together and jump over three metal and corrugated-iron fences, without getting caught by the Spanish police, who are always on the look-out.

Indeed, the infrared images captured by the Spanish police’s CCTV cameras, which are in fact the only concession made in the immersive style of this documentary, enable us to clearly make out their attempts to jump the barrier. They must therefore formulate strategies while simultaneously bandaging the wounds sustained from the barbed wire on the fences and the police themselves; only then can they hope to successfully get into Spain on the next attempt.

But let no one be fooled: gaining access to Europe in its current state of crisis will not solve all of their problems. In spite of everything, for Sidibé and the other migrants on Mount Gurugu, Europe is still their Eldorado, and they do not want to have undertaken this long voyage and lived through so many long months of suffering for nothing. A brighter future is so close, but is still so hard to reach.

The main strength of Those Who Jump lies in its striking images “seen from the inside”, rather than in lifting the lid on an unknown situation. It was produced by Danish production outfit Final Cut for Real and is being sold abroad by Wide House.

(Translated from French)

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