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THE LAST SHELTER

Ousmane Samassekou / France, Mali, South Africa / 2021 / 85 min / World Premiere
On the edge of the desert lies the House of Migrants, where a Malian filmmaker meets the travellers in a sensual film about the melancholy of exile.

The Malian city of Gao has for decades been a peaceful haven for African travellers. Here, on the edge of the Sahel desert, lies the House of Migrants, which is the temporary home for thousands of people every year. The hopeful ones, who are on their way to Europe. And those whose luck ran out and who are now on their way back to their hometowns and families. The Malian documentary filmmaker Ousmane Samassekou listens to two young girls and a middle-aged woman lying in a small room and exchanging dreams and stories. Elsewhere in the house, young men are watching wrestling on TV. Samassekou’s attentive camera frames the faces, the voices and their stories in a uniquely beautiful and humane film about no longer having a home once you have set off. But the atmosphere in the house itself expresses the melancholy of exile through calm and sensual images. All around the city, new and old wars are taking place in the endless desert.