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It is a place where you are suspended in time. You cannot move forward and you cannot go back. You are confined. But it is not a prison, it is a refugee camp. Refugee camps are usually located far away from the rest of society and they become like worlds of their own. This is a film about life in the camps. The film does not explore the dramatic events of the journey but the seemingly still and slowed down moments in the camps. It is March 2016. In the little Greek border village Idomeni a disorganized camp has emerged. Nadia and Nawaf and six of their children came to the border one day after it closed. Their home was destroyed and many of their friends and relatives are missing or dead in Iraq. That is the fate of the Yazidis. Nadia and Nawaf, like most people in the camp, want to start a new life in Germany. Yasir is alone in Idomeni. Yasir’s journey to Germany was also cut short. His main focus is to get news about his wife, Khalida, who is a prisoner of ISIS in Iraq. Yasir talks about Khalida with everyone he meets. A prisoner exchange between ISIS and Kurdish forces is taking place in Iraq. Yasir hopes that Khalida is among the released. Late at night he gets messages on the phone that she has not been freed. But Yasir remains convinced that she is alive and that it he can get her back. * Two months later all Yazidis in Idomeni are moved to another camp in Greece in the Olympic Mountains. The peaceful and monotonous situation in the new camp is broken by an accident when two young boys drown in a water-reservoir nearby. It affects the whole camp. Saber, one of Nadia and Nawaf’s sons, was friends with the dead boys. He tries to console a brother to one of the two boys who drowned. They talk about their grief, their hopeless situation, dreams for the future almost at the same time as they speak about Michael Jackson. The scenes with the children in the camps are intimate and give an insight in how to deal with a difficult situation. A theme through the film is the parallel lives of the children and adults in the camps. Yasir decides to smuggle himself to Germany where his seven-year-old son Sizar already lives. Sizar has been taken to Germany by a NGO, together with Yasir’s sisters. Nadia and Nawaf cannot to travel illegally with all their children. They have to stay in Greece and wait. They are taken yet another camp where there are real houses, not tents. It is a monotone waiting for an interview at the Greek Asylum Centre. Maybe they can be accepted for the EU Relocation Program. One year later Yasir has started a new life in Germany with his son, but someone is missing. Khalida, Yasir’s wife, is still in the hands of ISIS. But in May 2017 suddenly and unexpectedly something happens. A possibility to buy Khalida free from ISIS has materialized. She is taken from Syria to Iraq to her mother and other relatives. Yasir can only observe in his mobile what happens in Iraq from the distance of Germany. When he talks to Khalida on the phone something in Yasir’s gaze and whole appearance changes. They joke and flirt with each other through the mobile. She tells him some of what she has lived through the last three years. Now another long wait starts, to get Khalida to Germany. In November 2017, Nadia, Nawaf and their children are relocated to Germany. The children start school and are busy learning the language. For Nadia and especially for Nawaf it takes more time. Nawaf is mostly preoccupied with what is happening in Iraq, with the war and the terror attacks. But in the little town Uelzen in northern Germany all is calm. It is October 2018, Munich International Airport. Yasir and Sizar are in the arrival hall. Yasir has a big bunch of roses and Sizar has a small bouquet of flowers. They are about to meet Khalida for the first time in four years. Four years of massacre, death, flight, imprisonment, violence and displacement. The reunion is low-key, not overwhelming. Yasir and Khalida are almost shy in their contact with each other. Eight- year-old Sizar is at first very excited for his mother’s arrival but soon he becomes reserved towards her. She has been away for a long time. A new phase starts for Yasir, Sizar and Khalida in Göppingen, southern Germany. And a new life is coming. * Kocho Yasir and Khalida’s home village, in northern Iraq, was one of the Yazidi communities that were most brutally attacked by ISIS, in August 2014. Men were killed, women and children were taken as slaves and forcibly converted to Islam. Kocho is the village from where Nadia Murad also comes from. She was awarded the shared Nobel Peace Prize 2108 for her work against sexual violence in war.

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Direction: David Aronowitsch, Ahmed Abdullahi

Production: Story AB

Original Title: Idomeni

Original Language: Kurdish

Subtitles: English

Film Production Country: Sweden


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