Lost Land
(Territoire perdu)

Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd
Belgium, France 2011 | 75 Min. | OmeU
» Trailer

The West­ern Sahara is divid­ed: Since 1989, a 2.400 km long wall of sand has sep­a­rat­ed the area occu­pied by Moroc­co from that which is con­trolled by the Polis­ario Front, a nation­al lib­er­a­tion move­ment fight­ing for an inde­pen­dent state. Over a hun­dred thou­sand Sahrawi are living in exile in refugee camps in the Alger­ian desert – once nomads, now con­demned to immobility.

The sit­u­a­tion and unre­solved fate of the Sahrawi refugees have been for­got­ten by the world. TERRITOIRE PERDU brings them quite lit­er­al­ly back to light. Shot in Super8 and in black-and-white, the film works con­scious­ly with the con­trast between light and shadow – mod­el­ling the bodies of Sahrawi, as it were. Faces, skin, wrin­kles, scarves, cloth, sun­glass­es and the pat­terns of the sol­diers’ uni­forms coa­lesce on the visual level into grainy tex­tures. From off camera, one hears frag­ments of life sto­ries: about flight and per­se­cu­tion, about life in the camps, about Morocco’s repres­sion, the long­ing for one’s own land, the rela­tion­ship to the desert, grief over rel­a­tives who have dis­ap­peared, and resis­tance. The pow­er­ful wind is omnipresent, and the sound design ampli­fies the vast­ness of the space. A remark­able cin­e­mato­graph­ic form for a polit­i­cal topic.