DIR: Philip Scheffner | Merle Kroger | Doc | 93min | Germany
A tribute to those who constantly risk their lives in hope of a better future, HAVARIE is the documentary curio of Philip Scheffner who gave us Revision and The Haffmoon Files . This is a slow-burning affair that focuses on the grainy footage of a group of men who are adrift in a in a small dinghy in the narrow stretch of water between Southern Spain and North Africa. Scheffner has chosen to extend the original three-minute clip by slowing it down to a running time of 93 minutes – a feature that will no doubt bemuse audiences who come expecting action.
HAVARIE is informed by a series of voiceovers and radio communications that take place between the local Spanish coast guards and the cruise ship that spotted the men on their precarious mission to reach mainland Europe but whether this is really their mission remains unclear. Any why they are not picked up by the captain of the ship is never explained or explored.
In an attempt to add context, we hear from putative family members who have made it to Europe but are clearly finding the going uncertain and not have yet discovered the crock of gold they were possibly hoping for. Scheffner alludes to an undercurrent of terror and abuse in their countries of origin but this is merely conjecture as the provenance of the stranded men is never clarified.
HAVARIE doesn’t have the same resonance as Sergei Loznitsa’s Austerilitz but some viewers may find it moving and it certainly offers food for thought on the continuing narrative of migration and displacement. MT
SCREENING AS PART OF THE PROMISED LAND SYMPOSIUM AT CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GOETHE INSTITUTE IN LONDON.