Continental Drift by Nayeem Mahbub

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A poetry film written and directed by Bangladeshi filmmaker Nayeem Mahbub. The description reads:

A man rages at memories of war, border crossings, beatings and asylum, at the hard years finding his place in a foreign land. He rages at the cosmic cruelty of having gone through all this for his loved ones, who died crossing the sea before they could join him.

This was brought to my attention by an interview with Mahbub just published at Poetryfilmkanal. A few snippets:

Poetryfilmkanal: Your film was produced within the DOC Nomads program. Tell us about the program and how it influenced or changed your way of film making?

Nayeem Mahbub: Doc Nomads is a unique master’s programme for documentary film directing. It involved living and filming in Portugal, Hungary and Belgium over two years. As you can imagine it was both very challenging and very stimulating. I definitely learned to notice things I had never thought about and to step firmly out of my comfort zone when making films. We were constantly facing language barriers, so thinking about the presence or absence of language and what that means became a default part of our process. The students in the programme became close friends and collaborators, even to this day. So our styles, thoughts and attitudes continue to rub off on each other.

[…]

Your film could be understood as a poetry film. But you didn’t consider yourself a poet when you wrote the script? Did you?

That’s true. I was working on an idea about asylum centres in Belgium but was having trouble finding access to tell the subjective kind of story I wanted. Then the combination of a few events I witnessed in Brussels started to come out in a form very similar to the final text in the film. At the time I assumed these would be notes for developing my idea further but I found it very powerful and kept it, with a few refinements. I have to acknowledge my fellow Doc Nomad and friend Sohel Rahman, a Bengali poet and filmmaker, who helped me a lot with refining the language.

Read the rest.

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