Absent Present





Essayfilm about different forms of travelling in a globalized world: holidays and migration, forced returns and voluntary coming backs. Senegalese travellers say: “Either you make it to Barcelone or you end up in Barsaak.“ – which means realm of the dead in Wolof: the place of no return.

Benji, a friend of filmmaker Angelika Levi, has disappeared. In 1979, he was brought from Namibia to the GDR and sent back in 1990 after the German reunification. Angelika Levi met him in 1991 while she was working as a camera assistant in Namibia. Two years later he hitchhiked back to Europe, dressed up as a tourist. “Absent Present” sketches some stages of his life, looking at the history of Benjis disappearance, to understand why he decided to go underground.

Benji’s history is the starting point for a journey that leads from Germany to Namibia to Spain, Canarias onto Senegal. Angelika Levi moves between transit places marked by constant arrivals and departures: sea, beach, frontiers, forests, airports. Places where very different motives for travelling meet: People enjoying their holiday or being kept under police custody. The film reflects post-colonial, economic and bio-political dislocations while trying not to narrow down, to judge or to value. The title of the film relates to the situation of people who have to change or to give up their national identities and become stateless without any rights. The film describes Benji’s resistance and the way Senegalese travellers re-organize themselves to challange the borderlines of Europe.

Credits: Script, Director: Angelika Levi; Camera: Antje Schäfer; Team Senegal: Mor Diop, Abdoulaye Fodé, Pape Fall; Music: Marta Monserrat, Francisco Tornero, Samba Sock, Richard Howell, Benji P; Montage: Angelika Levi; Online Editing: Friederike Anders; Dramaturgical Advice: Antje Schäfer, Thomas Becker Levi; Sounddesign & Mix: Erik Mischijew; Colorgrading: Matthias Behrens; Translation: Makhtar Touré, Sali Niang, Lui Lüdicke, Antonio Lara, William Peters; Production Celestefilm, in cooperation with ZDF- Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, Editor Burkhard Althoff.

With: Benji, Pape Makthar Gueye, Adama Fall, Francisca Mora;
Madrid: Marie Gueye, Mame Nogeye Cisse; Namibia: Nambata, Dajele, George, Ronni, Benjamin Hangula, Martin u.a.; Dakar/ Yarach/ Picine: Lamine Gueye, Lala Fall, Thierno Diop, Moussa Fall, Katim Touré, Mamado Fall, Ndeye Ana Diallo; Beach sellers in Marbella: Papa Ndiaye, Saer Wade; Picker in Cataluña: Doudou Dienne;
Mbour: Aicha Ndoye, Oume Diagne, Mada Fall, Fatou Diop, Moustapha Ndoye;

Selected Festivals: Premiere: 8. Mostra Internacional de Films de Donnes, Barcelona; CineMigranteFestival Internacional de Cine, Buenos Aires; Document 8, Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Glasgow; Goethe Institut Dakar, Senegal; Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main; Neues Kino Basel, Schweiz; ARTIUM. Ciclo Audiovisual „El factor subjectivo“; Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo (Vitoria-Gasteiz); Granada Film Festival, España; „Rester et Partir“ (Staying and Leaving), Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) Bamako, Mali.

Press kit [DE]

Überall und nirgendwo by Julia Fritzsche. [taz.de]

In der Welt verloren by Kirsten Riesselmann. [taz.de]




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