CPH:DOX Review: The Last Shelter

Hundreds of thousands of Africans make the perilous journey from their hometown toward the promised land of Europe every single year. To a large extent, they follow well-established and frequently trodden paths. These periodically shift due to wars, conflicts and crackdowns. Today, many of these routes follow the same footsteps as the sub-Saharan caravan networks of centuries passed. It remains a treacherous and dangerous trek.

For most of its history, the city of Gao in eastern Mali has been a centre of commerce for trans-Saharan trade. Today it provides a quiet haven for travellers. The House of Migrants can be found here, located at the edge of the desert. It provides a temporary home for thousands of migrants every year, either voyaging onwards in the hope of a better life or returning back to their homelands. The Last Shelter tells their stories.

The Last Shelter observes and listens to this transient population who are taking temporary refuge in this shelter. As we eavesdrop on their hopes and fears, hear their life stories and why they chose to make the perilous journey, an air of melancholy settles over them. Ousmane Samassekou’s documentary focuses on those people who are in limbo, stuck between a past they’re running from and a future they’re not sure they want. The Last Shelter is both oddly depressing and profoundly hopeful.

The Last Shelter screens at CPH:DOX.

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