This is a story about desperate, clandestine African immigrants trying to make it to Europe by any means necessary, including: by boats, canoe or any floating device available. If this reminds you of rats deserting a sinking ship, then you’re not far wrong except that these human beings also have to pay a hefty fare for the privilege, and sometimes lose their lives as well.
This harrowing documentary centres around the trials of a group of clandestine African travelers preparing to make the crossing, (or ‘war’ as they call it), over treacherous seas from Mauritania’s west coast town of Nouadhibou to the Canary Islands and the El Dorado of Europe.
When compared to what some of these characters have had to face at home, it is easy to see why they’re pushed to undertake such a dangerous expedition. However, the irony is not lost that this is almost a bizarre 21st century twist on the trans-Atlantic slave trade where again many young Africans are making a sea journey out of Africa albeit without chains and certainly not against their own will.
Good film making with clear narration provides a first hand experience of the actual voyage of 38 clandestine Africans (including a 5 month old baby girl) and one European film maker Dominique Mollard. It is even more surreal and horrifying when you consider that this is voyage is still regularly being repeated across the West African coast, as recent news headlines can attest.
Monseiur Mollard’s excellent footage still provides a glimpse of the dreams, fantasies and desperation which made 38 young and otherwise healthy group of people undertake the campaign to get to Europe or die in the attempt. It also allows us to witness the conditions, tribulations and character of the voyagers, particularly when facing grave peril and near certain death on the sea.
Fortunately this is a tale of survivors, but many others have died in their thousands and in fact this documentary was dedicated to over five and half thousand souls lost at sea as testament to the continuing human tragedy unfolding right on the doorstep of mighty Europe. Good documentary, excellent and brave effort by the film maker on a very tough human interest story.