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Open Eyes Balkanroute: shapes of lesbos

7. February 2022, 19:00 - 21:00

Mo. 07.02.2022, 19h ★ cinématte Bern

Solidarity film evening followed by a discussion – Director: Jana Stallein; documentary film; GR/D 2020, original version with German subtitles, 1h21 – proceeds against to the Legal Centre Lesvos.

Footage of the huge camp for refugees on Lesvos, where at times over 15,000 people live, just a few weeks before the big fire. There is an official part, and the unofficial part, “Moria Jungle”, where thousands live illegally in the surrounding olive groves. Within the camp, it makes a difference under which of the aid organisations you are placed, one resident tells us. German is taught in makeshift tents by a young man who is fleeing Afghanistan for the second time after his deportation. Volunteers from the refugees meet volunteers from all over Europe to train each other. Translators also try to convey cultural differences.

In SHAPES OF LESBOS, however, the locals of Lesbos are also addressed; the economy and life on the island no longer function as before. Not only in view of the masses of refugees, but also the legions of volunteers. Where there was a great willingness to help at the beginning, there is resignation in the face of the permanence of the situation. Cramped conditions everywhere, limited capacities, excessive demands. In between, impressive spaces that refugees like the sixteen-year-old martial arts fighter Sohela create for themselves where there is actually no space.

Filmmaker Jana Stallein was on site and tries to depict different perspectives and points of view. In between, images of the beach with the numerous remnants of the crossing, overlaid on a tonal level with excerpts from reporting on European refugee policy. “And then someone asks me” reports a young female doctor after her exhausting mission in the Moria refugee camp, “when do you think there will be another conflict? Most of the fights take place after 10 p.m., when none of the helpers are there any more.” (Stefanie Gaus)

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