Applicant refugees at the Klein Kasteeltje/ Petit Château in Brussels receive a camera of their own to tell the story of their escape and their quest, about what they left behind and what they hope to find, in their own ‘cinema brut’ style. By transcending the traditional dynamics of documentaries and workshops an audiovisual intimacy develops, past the oral account, filled with internalised images of the ‘void’ that surrounds the narrators. The ‘void’ shaping their new reality; a vague silence, hovering between echoes of memories and dreams. Ultimately we are presented with a mirror, questioning the limitations of our perception of the asylum applicants and our notion of the world. The poetical accounts in this film create all kinds of sensorial, metaphorical, political and empathic associations, stretching beyond our awareness through the theatre binoculars used by most of the classic documentaries. ‘Pour vivre, j’ai laissé’ was an initiative of PAC (Présence et Action Culturelles), co-financed by the European Fund for the Refugees (FER) within the framework of the campaign ‘Terre d’Asile’ (2005).

This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project