Opening with a solemn quote from the Qur’an defining “Barzakh” – a liminal area between the useless and the afterlife – Alejandro G Salgado’s sombre documentary evokes the identical ambiance of indeterminacy, creating each a geographical and emotional state of perpetual longing. Shot solely at night time on the shoreline of Melilla, which turns otherworldly as soon as darkness falls, the movie observes, usually from a distance, younger and undocumented Nepali boys who’re ready and hoping to cross to Europe.
Hiding among the many cavernous hollows of the rocky cliffs of this tiny Spanish enclave, these boys are wrapped in shadows. Moreover hiding their identities, the nocturnal cinematography additionally factors up the stark outlines of their makeshift shelters, which appear to swallow their small figures entire. The boys sing conventional devotional songs collectively: the mild craving sharply contrasts with the cacophony of the ocean waves, suggesting the arduous journeys on which they may quickly embark.
Their speak is of on a regular basis survival, akin to catching fish for meals or methods to hold themselves heat with a fireplace stoked solely with cardboard. Weary of the chilly and unforgiving nights, they’re additionally scared of the hazards of sneaking on to boats to get to Europe. Barely adults themselves, the boys even dream about elevating children. It’s this mirage that nudges them onwards by means of a seemingly never-ending limbo.
Whereas the broody cinematography is at instances a tad impenetrable, and the movie comes near overly poeticising its topics’ experiences, this documentary stays a poignant watch, highlighting the psychological and bodily toll of border crossing.
Barzakh is launched on 15 October on True Story.