Vertigo UK - Crónica de DocLisboa y entrevista con Oriol Canals, por Graeme Hobbs (eng)


The laying bare of this disillusionment takes place in Oriol Canals’ Letters from the Shadows, a film born of the need for truthful contact. Tired of hearing once more the same stories of beached refugees arriving in Spain, ‘the same sad litany of figures’ on the morning news, he resolved to meet them and record their stories. But as he says in the film, ‘how can you show people afraid to be seen? How can you tell their story when all they want is to forget?’. In answer, he set up a room in which the men could speak unhindered to a camera, with the tapes then being sent to their homes as a way of breaking the illusions that so many families held about coming to Europe. The men speak of their ordeals in their own languages, in Bambara, Haoussa, Peul, Soninké, Twi and Wolof, and liberated from interview, speak candidly of their journeys, their sadness, hunger, fear, and their current drift in a world where they are wholly present but marginal, tolerated but ignored. Their film is suffused with the images and rhythm of waiting and uncertainty.

Letters from the Shadows gives voice to a few of the many who set out with dreams of bettering their lives and seeing the world. ‘When I decided to go for adventure it came from the heart’ says one man. Adventure: it is a charged and energising word that claims ground hitherto regarded as some kind of western birthright.


Sitio de Vertigo UK (eng)

Entrevista con Oriol Canals (eng)