DVD: In This World (15)

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The Independent Culture

The long and frequently dangerous journey taken by refugees trying to get to England is the subject of this harrowing but important film.

It follows Jamal (Jamal Udin Torabi) and his older cousin, Enayat (Enayatullah), two inhabitants of the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Peshawar who leave their families behind for the promise of London. Their overland quest – heading towards what they believe will be a better life – takes them from Pakistan, through Iran and Turkey before reaching Western Europe, with the pair forced to trust the various shady characters that facilitate their route along the way.

The unusual style – it is all filmed with digital cameras, and neither of the leads are professional actors – means that it often feels like a real documentary. Indeed, Jamal was born in the Shamshatoo camp. His character is the dominating personality, more roguish and confident that his quieter cousin.

The film atmospherically captures the boredom, tension and the sheer terrifying nature of the boys' journey. Almost all filmed on location it includes some beautiful shots mixed in with a tale of human endurance. A worthy winner of the prestigious Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2003, to describe In This World as entertaining would be misleading, but it is a gripping and undeniably moving film.