Nuit obscure – Feuillets sauvages (Les brûlants, les obstinés)

Sylvain George

Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, is a land border between the African continent and Europe. A buffer zone where European migration policies, their challenges and their consequences can be read and seen. A place towards which converge, from Morocco, “those who burn”, the “harragas”, minors and young adults, eager to reach Europe. They have nothing to lose but wanting to live to the end.

The condition of migration and struggle have always been the basis of the cinema of Sylvain George (Artist in Focus at Courtisane festival 2011), a filmmaker who since his first works returned to focus attention on the cinematographic medium as a powerful political tool. The grain of the film becomes the material in which to sculpt the wounds that migrants carry, both on their bodies and their hands.

For ten years, Sylvain George worked on a new project in the city of Melilla, Morocco, from which many young people leave for Europe. Obscure night – Wild leaves (The burning ones, the obstinate) is only the first element of a work destined to mark our perception as Western spectators, immersing us in a distant life yet one so defined by our desire to remain blind. The starting point is Melilla: a meeting place for diverse characters, mostly young people ready for their big trip, who find themselves trapped in a struggling survival, lacking economic means, continually pervaded by the idea of departure that drives them to daring attempts to board boats and use drugs to survive the disappointment each day brings. Their bodies, sometimes veritable ghosts, roam a city that seems alien, in its linear geometries and always having been a Spanish colony, from Franco’s past.


English subtitles