What The Wind Took Away
Despite having lost everything, the Yazidi women Hedil and Naam are struggling for a humane life for their families. In the Yazidi massacre by the terrorist organisation "Islamic State" they were forced to leave their homeland and have finally found protection in a refugee camp. Their situation seems hopeless, stuck between the dictatorship of ISIS and their dream destination: Europe. What the wind took away is a deeply poetic approach to the very personal stories of these Yazidi women and a lyrical journey through their everyday lives in the refugee camp. (production notes)
In elaborated images, What the wind took away shows life in a refugee camp for the Yazidis, a Kurdish ethnic group, in southeast Turkey (Fidanlik) in 2015. Two women, Hedil and Naam, provide the narrative, which focuses solely on what defines the women´s and their families´ everyday lives: cooking, eating, washing, building a kitchen tent, and planting a bed of parsley. The film doesn´t deal primarily with the tragic nature of the refugees´ fate, but instead, offers richly detailed, long arcs, describing the tasks of daily life—and how they have to be done in the space and time of the tent camp as heterotopia (Michel Foucault).
We become acquainted with the tent as an interim site situated on the fringe of society due to its deviance from the norm; characterized by rituals that replace everyday actions. The refugee camp´s tent city functions as an "other space" whose time is also an "other" time (heterochrony). What the wind took away presents how the little actions of everyday life merge to a spatio-temperal experience, and how the stories of flight, normality, and desire—but also of trauma and pain provide an emotional frame for the matters that must be taken care of on a daily basis. And the film lets us contemplate where and when life in a refugee camp might start and end: how do you decide when to leave this interim place where you are at least intermittently safe, and take off into an uncertain future. (Andrea B. Braidt)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt