Dir Pedro Figueiredo Neto

English (English Subtitles)

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Withering Refuge problematises the representation and plight of different populations living in Zambia’s Meheba Refugee Settlement and in its mining surroundings. The film uses a reflexive essayistic approach to explore the idea of displaced in place, that is, of displacement (of humans and minerals) without moving.

This is a film-essay/paper that examines a context of forced displacement and the possibilities of refuge amidst developmental endeavors, environmental decline and unfolding enclavisation.

It does so by exploring the possibilities of film in depicting the uncertain plight of the Meheba Refugee Camp (Zambia), as well as the expectations and hopes of those who live in and around it. Endlessly stuck in the emergency, the refugee camp is a place of suspended time. But other enclaves sprout in Meheba’s extractive surroundings informing about the proliferation and purposes of camps. Indeed, this setting appears of inform of an ubiquitous trend.

The piece also reflects upon the ethical dilemmas encountered while conducting fieldwork and seeking to depict contexts of vulnerability beyond commonplaces. It further aims to inquires how theoretical concepts can be rendered intelligible through cinematic stylistic features and techniques.

Selected Reviews
It’s like there’s 2 films put together. The 1st a meta-film, focusing on the process/decisions/point-of-view of the making the 2nd one, the film itself, the result of all the process. They are both in dialogue with each other and with the spectator, through a communication that deconstructs the abstraction of the construction of the narrative. The more you watch it the more enmeshed this becomes.

The film owes a huge debt to Chris Marker’s film-essays. This is a wonderful, insightful, articulate (visually and textually) film with lots of lived-in experiences. The choice of visuals are well thought out.

This film gets down to the essence of what Film Geographies is trying to achieve. We don’t just want films about places, to tell us stories we already know but films that question how the format of the film can contribute to the debates around some of the most pressing issues of our time.

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