A refuge for African travellers about to embark on a perilous desert crossing is the melancholic setting for Malian filmmaker Ousmane Zoromé Samassékou’s prize-winning documentary.
The House of Migrants in the Malian city of Gao sits at the edge of the Sahel desert. Sub-Saharan exiles rest there before following their dreams north to Europe. Most are escaping persecution or poverty – all are looking for a better life. A handful are making the journey south, having failed in their attempt. The staff ask each new arrival for an emergency contact in case they are never heard from again. Two young women shrug off reports of the dangers they are sure to face. Samassékou’s attentive camera captures the migrants’ stories as they sit in limbo, waiting for the next stage of their journey. This uniquely beautiful and humane film, part of STEPS’ Generation Africa project, won the major prize at CPH:DOX.