Berlinale Forum 2011 – Territoire perdu | Lost Land


Territoire perdu | Lost Land
Director: Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd
France, Belgium 2011

A 2,400 km wall cuts across the western Sahara, built by Morocco to contain the Sahrawi – once nomads, now condemned to immobility. More than a hundred thousand people who have been forgotten. The destruction of millennia of indigenous knowledge in a generation.

Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd’s revelatory documentary opens with camels behind a fence. Herodotus wrote of these camels and their keepers. In the 40 years that the Sahrawi have been living in camps, their nomadic knowledge of the desert has disappeared except in a few surviving old people.

Chased off their land when Morocco demanded possession of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, the Sahrawi refugees have been forgotten by the world. The last chapter in a trilogy that began with Le Cercle des noyés and Les Dormants, Territoire perdu literally brings them back to light.

Read the Forum essay.