Hamada turns the attention to the rocky, wind-eroded desert of the Western Sahara, where the Sahrawi people have resided in refugee camps for more than 40 years.
Eloy Domínguez Serén
Michael Krotkiewski and David Herdies
Galician director Eloy Domínguez Serén has a clear interest in existence in exile. Having moved to Sweden, his initial culture shock and difficulties establishing a foothold in the country swiftly became the focus of his debut feature film released in 2015, No Cow on the Ice.
For his latest documentary, Hamada, he turns his attention to one of the most inhospitable terrains in the world: the rocky, wind-eroded desert of the Western Sahara (the «hamada»), where the Sahrawi people have resided in refugee camps for more than 40 years, in what is now officially Algeria. This unresolved displacement occurred alongside decolonisation, when Spain divided control of its former colony, Spanish Sahara, between Morocco and Mauritania through the 1975 Madrid Accords – a treaty not fully recognised by international law. A sand wall separates the zones of control as the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi national liberation movement seeking self-determination, drags on.
Hamada is little concerned with dry, factual analysis. Instead, it immerses us sympathetically in an atmospheric portrait of a people and their tenuous sense of belonging. The natural desert beauty of the location lends itself to gorgeous cinematography and shot-framing, but it has few practical attributes to sustain human life on the ground.
Resilience of hope