Directors’ Showcase / UK premiere

14 Kilometres

  • Gerardo Olivares /
  • Spain /
  • 2007 /
  • 95 mins

Adoum Moussa, Illiassou Mahamadou Alzouma, Aminata, Kanta / Fiction / Bambara, Hausa, Tamashek, Arabic, French

A visually stunning odyssey in search of freedom.

?At a time when Britain and Spain have announced a united political force to combat illegal immigration from Africa into Western Europe, this film is a timely study of why some young Africans choose to take such extreme measures. Partially as a result of geography, Spain has for the past six years been Europe’s biggest port of call for migrants, its booming economy attracting immigrants from Africa and Latin America as well as considerable numbers from the UK. Against this often tragic backdrop of human displacement, three young Africans set out on the journey of their lives. The decision to embark upon this migration is provoked by a variety of situations. In Mali, beautiful teenager Violetta is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a much older man. In neighbouring Niger, as two brothers struggle to make ends meet, the younger, Buba, a gifted footballer, is persuaded by his brother to follow his dream of playing professional football in Europe. Like many hundreds of Africans each year, they are forced to make the most difficult of human choices. They give up everything, including family and friends, to confront the long and dangerous route to North Africa, where they make arrangements to cross the final 14 kilometres that ultimately separate North Africa from Spain. Driven by a belief that in the West “nobody dies of hunger”, they throw themselves at the mercy of corrupt officials and murderous terrain and pray that luck will prevail. With his 2006 feature La Gran Final (The Great Match), director Gerardo Olivares exhibited his strong affection and admiration for the people and landscape of Africa. 14 Kilometres continues this fascination, and once again the cinematography for which Olivares takes a co-credit, is breathtaking. The soundtrack also excels, with Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour adding a lively, upbeat layer to Spanish composer Santi Vega’s sweeping soundtrack. Naturalistic performances from Adoum Moussa, Illiassou Mahamadou Alzouma and Aminaata Kanta further enhance this honest portrayal of loyalty, bravery and determination in the face of extreme stress.

2008 Archive

Image from 14 Kilometres

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