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

Orig. Title
What The Wind Took Away
Austria, Turkey
75 min
Orig. Language
Various, kurdish
Helin Çelik, Martin Klingenböck
Helin Çelik
Deniz Blazeg, Martin Klingenböck
Roumen Dimitrov
Ascan Breuer
Sound Design
Adriana Milanova, Roumen Dimitrov
Sound Mix
Roumen Dimitrov
Ascan Breuer
Executive Producer
Martin Klingenböck, Helin Çelik
Supported by
Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft, Land Niederösterreich, Zukunftsfonds Republik Österreich, BKA - innovative film, Gemeinde Wieselburg Land, Die Grüne Alternative Bundespartei Die Grünen
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate
25 fps
Festivals (Selection)
Wien - ethnocineca. International Documentary Film Festival Vienna (ADA (Austrian Documentary Award))
Duisburg - Duisburger Filmwoche
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival (Best Austrian Film 2017)
Jihlava - East Silver Market
Kratovo Ethnographic Film Festival Macedonia
Buenos Aires Festival Int. de Cine Independiente BAFICI
New York - Margaret Mead Documentary Film Festival