Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival is an opportunity to find out what undiscovered filmmakers are doing. All sorts of films are shown in this segment of the festival – shorts, features, animations, documentaries and everything in between.
“L’Escale” is by Swiss/Iranian director Kaveh Bakhtiar. It is a documentary about Illegal immigrants in Athens. It was inspired by the experiences of the director’s cousin who like many people, found himself in Greece illegally, without the means to leave and in constant fear of being picked up by the police.
Kaveh Bakhtiari explains: “I made the film in a hurry, it was just made by instinct and in retrospect I think that my instincts as someone who usually deals with fiction helped me to tell the stories of how these people become isolated.
“The film doesn’t really deal with Greece, but with the people, and in the end that’s what got the film here to Cannes today.
“When we were making one part of the film, someone in the film turned to me and asked, ‘And you? At this age you were also an immigrant, weren’t you?’
“And that hurt me, the question surprised me and the only thing I could think of to say was, ‘But as a Westerner, the day that there are no more immigrants knocking on the door of Europe will be the day I too become an emigrant again.’ And just look at Greece with all the economic problems it has… the Greeks are emigrating, the Spanish too, the Portuguese are emigrating to Brazil, so there are already movements in the opposite direction.”