Eloy Domínguez Serén
In Arabic, hamada denotes the high stony plateaus where the sand has been almost totally swept away by the winds. For the Sahrawis – literally the “inhabitants of the desert” –, the word designates a state of emptiness and absence of life. But also, as we understand from the start of Eloy Domínguez Serén’s first feature documentary, their status as refugees, ever since Morocco and Mauritania both laid claim to the Western Sahara, a Spanish colony until 1975. For over forty years, they have been living in various camps – including Tindouf in Algeria, where the Spanish filmmaker spent more than eight months between 2014 and 2017 – vainly awaiting the referendum on self-determination promised by Morocco in 1991, when the Polisario liberation movement laid down its arms. It is this waiting that Domínguez Serén imagined as the backdrop to his film, along with a group of young Sahrawis, in particular Sidahmed and Zaara. One is tempted by the freedom of exile, the other by an independence that is more pragmatic but no less problematic. Yet, both are prisoners of a paradoxical existence where they have nothing to do, but everything is possible. This sombre picture would have presaged a very bleak film, had Domínguez Serén and his actors not opted for the opposite approach – one of beauty, irony, complicity and laughter so that day after day and, of course, with no scenario they could share the inventiveness of a so-called lost generation.
Eloy Domínguez Serén was born in 1985 in Simes (Galicia, Spain). Before debuting as a filmmaker he worked as a film critic for both radio and press. In 2012 he moved to Sweden, where he made his first short film Pettring. His film No Cow on the Ice premiered in 2015 at Visions du Réel and won several awards, while his two most recent short films Yellow Brick Road and Rust, have premiered at Jihlava IDFF and FID Marseille, respectively. He was also selected to participate in Berlinale Talents 2017.
- PRODUCTION : David Herdies, Michael Krotkiewski