Brûle la mer (Burn the Sea)

Brûle la mer (Burn the Sea)

Maki Berchache & Nathalie Nambot | 
France/Tunisia |
 2014 | 
75 minutes

THIS FILM IS PART OF THE FRENCH FRENCH PROGRAM.

The opening shot in Brûle la mer of roiling storm-tossed seas moving in perpetual motion sets the tone for the cinepoem to come. Elegantly constructed, the film employs the age-old device of someone telling you a story. In this case, the narrative is that of young Tunisian refugees (some 25,000) including Maki and his two brothers, who fled their country after the 2011 Jasmine Revolution. They journey towards Europe across the North African Mediterranean, in pursuit of a better life, but the streets of Paris offer little welcome to the harragas. “You gradually learn that borders are not only for crossing seas and entering countries...They are everywhere, in faces sometimes,” says Maki in an interview with his co-director. -DW

In this rich feast of a film, co-directors Nambot and Berchache alternate the volume between hushed and rowdy as successfully as they themselves process intense color images on 16- and 8mm stock... A film about the constant battle against inertia comes alive with action and love. The subtext is that the real villain is a capitalism retaining the disparity of colonial rule. Even if Maki and his brothers lived simple lives in Tunisia and were unable to send money to the family, they could at least retain some of the dignity that France strips away day by day. The sea is a double umbilical cord: half connects child to nurturing biological mother; the remainder, like a third rail that zaps body and spirit, links up to a foster one. -FILMMAKER MAGAZINE