There she stands, con­fi­dent­ly, like a god­dess of tech­no­log­i­cal junk, sur­round­ed by end­less moun­tains of rub­bish, plas­tic, stench and rare earths. An angry appeal to the world to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the con­se­quences of cap­i­tal­ism, colo­nial­ism and envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion in Africa. (Berli­nale)

This film will be screened simul­ta­ne­ous­ly at Unseen as part of our #Junction_Nairobi, fol­lowed by a shared discussion.

Kan­tara­ma Gahi­giri is a Rwan­dan-Swiss screen­writer and direc­tor, born 1976 in Geneva, and grew up in Switzer­land and in var­i­ous African coun­tries. She has a degree in inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. As a film­mak­er, her work focus­es on topics includ­ing iden­ti­ty, migra­tion, empow­er­ment and rep­re­sen­ta­tion. She is an alumna of the Real­ness Res­i­den­cy (2018), La Fab­rique Cinéma at Cannes (2019), Le Moulin d’Andé (2020), Berli­nale Tal­ents (2021), the Locarno Film­mak­ers Acad­e­my (2022) and the Ate­lier Grand Nord (2023). Films: ME + U (2013, TV series), TAPIS ROUGE (2014, fea­ture), LOST ANGEL LESS (2017, short film).

Direc­tor, Script: Kan­tara­ma Gahigiri
Key Cast: Cheryl Isheja


The vil­lage of Shol­o­gon is locat­ed in the taiga in north­east­ern Siberia. An extreme heat wave ignit­ed fierce forest fires in the remote region two years ago. At first, res­i­dents remained calm, but the con­fla­gra­tion was get­ting closer and closer. No help could be expect­ed from the state, because the vil­lage lies on the edge of a con­trol zone - too few people settle there for it to be worth the effort to save their homes. The pop­u­la­tion has no choice but to orga­nize itself and hold back the fire as much as pos­si­ble until it rains again. Dif­fer­ent squads, always in con­tact with each other, mon­i­tor the fires, all men and also women fight with the sim­plest means against the “dragon” of the flames.   

The cam­era­man Paul Guil­haume right­ly received an award for his work. The burn­ing land­scape becomes a vivid paint­ing of the threat of cli­mate change. Through the dense smoke, a spec­ta­cle of colors from yellow to red, one fol­lows human sil­hou­ettes and fears and won­ders how they can bear the heat and smoke at all. An intense­ly obser­va­tion­al doc­u­men­tary trans­fers the entire drama to the viewer. 

Alexan­der Abatur­ov is born in Novosi­birsk in 1984. After study­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion sci­ence he worked as jour­nal­ist for the Fed­er­al press agency. In 2010 he obtained an MA in cre­ative doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing from the Doc­u­men­tary School of Lussas in France. Films: SLEEPING SOULS (2013, 53 min); THE SON (2018, 71 min). 

Direc­tor: Alexan­der Abaturov
Cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Paul Guilhaume
Edit­ing: Luc For­veille, Alexan­der Abaturov
Sound: Myriam René, Sorin Apos­tol, Frédéric Buy
Pro­duc­tion: Petit à Petit Production
Dis­tri­b­u­tion: The Party Film Sales


This post-apoc­a­lyp­tic, eco-fic­tion short film fol­lows two con­struc­tion work­ers wan­der­ing in a zone where inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or ter­ri­to­ries are inter­twined. In a con­stant search for traces, they are con­front­ed with an hybrid nat­ur­al-indus­tri­al uni­verse that seems to be over­whelm­ing. Through­out the days and nights their paths will sep­a­rate, lead­ing them to explore new hori­zons.  

Andrea Bor­doli is born in 1990 in Switzer­land. 2015 BA in Anthro­pol­o­gy and Phi­los­o­phy from the Uni­ver­sité de Neuchâ­tel. 2017 MA in Visual Anthro­pol­o­gy from Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­ches­ter. He is based between Geneva and Bern, where he stud­ies visual arts-cinema at the HEAD-Genève (Haute École d’Art et Design) while pur­su­ing a prac­tice-led PhD in Visual and Media Anthro­pol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bern.  



Some­where on the north­ern coast of Cuba, three chil­dren are swim­ming in the ocean, paint­ing seashells and are amused by a sea slug. As they roam through the city, a back­drop of aban­doned and dilap­i­dat­ed houses is revealed. Within these rem­nants of con­crete struc­tures, they find solace in each other´s com­pa­ny as they seek shel­ter from the rain, paint their hair and play hide and seek. They seem to be invis­i­ble to the rest of the world, tucked inside the cracks of the few con­crete pil­lars that still stand. The camera observes them close­ly and reveals their ges­tures and rela­tion­ships. As the sun sets over the ocean, cru­cial ques­tions about the island and its inhab­i­tants arise.

SWEET SALTY WIND weaves a strik­ing child­ish­ly rela­tion­ship with a darker reality.

Direc­tor, script: Laura Gabriela Gabay
Cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Mathilde Le Masson
Edit­ing: Emmanuel Peña
Sound: Vitor Coroa / Vitor Moraes
Con­tact: lauragabriela.gabay@gmail.com

The River, My Friend

The Lule River flows through a part of Sweden that has been pop­u­lat­ed pri­mar­i­ly by the Sami people for thou­sands of years. The 15 dams that make indus­tri­al use of the Lule pos­si­ble today are owned by the state energy com­pa­ny Vat­ten­fall. In order to build these dams, many Sami, who tra­di­tion­al­ly live from rein­deer herd­ing, were forcibly reset­tled. This is a story of loss: with the reset­tle­ment, more and more ances­tral Sami cus­toms have dis­ap­peared. What remains is their deep emo­tion­al bond with water, as shown in ÄLVEN MIN VÄN, which is a por­trait of four Sami women. “Every day, the river flows through me, look­ing for mem­o­ries,” says sto­ry­book writer Eva Stina San­dling. In won­der­ful images, direc­tor Hannah Ambühl cap­tures these mem­o­ries and the deep con­nec­tion of the women with the Lule River. At the same time, the film doc­u­ments the women’s chang­ing lives and tra­di­tions, as well as their last­ing feel­ings of belong­ing to Sami culture. 

The Memories of Things

Muse­ums are at the inter­sec­tion of public and pri­vate com­mem­o­ra­tive cul­ture. Their col­lec­tions are not only the sub­ject of debates regard­ing sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al poli­cies; they also accom­mo­date per­son­al mem­o­ries as well. The video-instal­la­tion ERINNERUNGEN DER DINGE (Mem­o­ries of Objects) shows a del­e­ga­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Tuparí people from Brazil as they visit eth­no­log­i­cal col­lec­tions in Europe in 2009. These images of the Tuparí’s encounter with the objects and doc­u­ments of their ances­tors in Euro­pean archives are con­trast­ed with images of their vil­lage. How can cul­ture be pre­served? What do objects mean to us? Who rep­re­sents them?

In the Devil’s Garden

The film sit­u­ates the viewer within the makeshift space of an animal market in Alge­ria. Drift­ing between feed­ing and wait­ing, one attunes to the bodies of goats and camels, two of the oldest com­pan­ions of people living in the Maghreb. As we move deeper into the desert, the site turns into a sac­ri­fice zone and reveals its dark geopo­lit­i­cal secrets: the sit­u­a­tion of Sahrawi refugees in the par­tial­ly recog­nised Sahrawi Arab Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic (SADR).
This sen­so­ry ethnog­ra­phy film encour­ages to ques­tion the banal­i­ty of dis­place­ment, con­fine­ment and exploita­tion in an out-of-sight territory.

Be’ Jam Be - the Never Ending Song

The Mutan tree, well we say tree, but orig­i­nal­ly it’s a liana that uses the tree to climb. And its grasp ends up killing the tree.” In Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states on Borneo, the Penan who not that long ago were nomads, are among the first to be affect­ed by defor­esta­tion. The film, car­ried by the song of those who refuse to give in, cap­tures the dif­fer­ent ways of resis­tance of each one in this deadly fight. A doc­u­men­tary thriller, BE’JAM BE et cela n’aura pas de fin. is a tes­ta­ment to modern forest guer­ril­las fight­ing bull­doz­ers with blowpipes.

Gilda Brasileiro - Against Oblivion

Gilda Brasileiro is an Afro-Brazil­ian woman who only recent­ly moved to a vil­lage in the Atlantic rain forest. She is all the more out­raged that no one seems inter­est­ed in the his­to­ry of this place, where a secret slave route once passed through in the 19th cen­tu­ry. There is even an intact slave house still stand­ing, which is now used as a small museum. How­ev­er, the slaves are not men­tioned in the museum owner’s nar­ra­tive. Because vir­tu­al­ly no one wants to remem­ber this past, Gilda begins look­ing for evi­dence. In the São Paulo archives, she dis­cov­ers proof that, 50 years after Brazil left the transat­lantic slave trade in 1831, a Catholic priest earned good money sell­ing ille­gal work­ers to the plan­ta­tions. How­ev­er, since this doesn’t seem to bother anyone either, Gilda begins to doc­u­ment on film what she does not want to be for­got­ten. In the thick­et of the jungle, she and her cam­era­man begin look­ing for traces of past crimes.

The two direc­tors were so inspired by their protagonist’s per­sis­tence that they began con­duct­ing their own research. They dis­cov­ered his­tor­i­cal pho­tographs by Marc Ferrez, who cre­at­ed unique visual doc­u­ments of the Brazil­ian coffee plan­ta­tions in the 19. Century.


In Switzer­land, tra­di­tion­al char­coal burn­ing is still a trade. Each summer, smoke rises out of the char­coal piles, or kilns. The pro­ce­dure takes five weeks. The metic­u­lous stack­ing of the wood, work­ing with the fire, the poking and shov­el­ing, the hidden process in which the trans­for­ma­tion of wood into char­coal seems alchemistic – all of this still has an air of magic to this day.

The film­mak­er Robert Müller vis­it­ed the char­coal burn­ers in Entle­buch in Cen­tral Switzer­land for the last five years. He offers a glimpse of a hard but fas­ci­nat­ing world in this cap­ti­vat­ing film with fan­tas­tic images and pre­cise acoustics that match the accu­ra­cy of the work­ing method of making char­coal. Most impor­tant­ly, it is a well-round­ed por­trait of the dif­fer­ent people involved in this trade. There is much silence, but also laugh­ter, drink­ing, smok­ing, and cursing.

Robert Müller: “I learned about a way of living where family, pro­fes­sion, beliefs and, the world stay close­ly con­nect­ed: the intense labor in nature and the adven­ture that demands every­thing of you, phys­i­cal­ly and mentally.”

Best camera, Swiss Film Award 2018; Best direc­tor, Inner­schweiz­er Film­preis 2019; Jury Prize, Trento Film Fes­ti­val 2018