L’ABRI – Watch the video of the night



by Fernand Melgar, Switzerland 2014, 100’

L’Abri (the shelter) makes us face straight on an emergency shelter for tramps in Lausanne where every night men and women, shrouded in cold, spend long hours to look for a refuge. Every night as usual powerless watchmen are compelled to perform the same, terrible ritual, to select few chosen ones who will be able to enter the bunker (immigrants themselves have named it like this) and to have a warm lunch and a bed. Showing everyday common rituals like making the bed, buttering a tart, things that are taken for granted for many people, but so precious to people living in uncertain conditions, Melgar puts us in contact with these human beings living in the shadow, willing to keep their dignity, grabbing to their human nature, at all costs. We would like to prevent you from any form of paternalism, that is worthless if we want to show how cinema can disclose ‘windows on the world’, l’Abri shows us everyone’s defeat, that of the whole society being unable to relate to the other.

Lecturer: Nando Sigona (University of Birmingham)

Fernand Melgar was born in Tangeri in 1961, into an andalusian family in exile. In 1963 his parents migrated to Switzerland and started to work there with a permit as seasonal workers. They illegally took their children with them. He’s an independent and self-taught director and producer, he’s member of Climage association, a documentary film benchmarch in Switzerland. In 2008, his documentary “La forteresse” (the fortress), that is about detention centers for immigrants in Switzerland, has won the Pardo d’oro award at the Locarno International Film Festival and many other international awards.

Nando Sigona is a sociologist qualified in studies about immigrants and refugees. Since 2013 he’s fellow at the University of Birmigham. He carried out an ethnographic research about Rom kinds of belonging, immigrants without papers, asylum seekers and stateless persons. Nando is one of the founders and editors in chief of Migration Studies, a new Oxford University Press magazine, he is a researcher of the Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (Oxford University Press, 2014) and he has written Sans Papiers: The Social and Economic Lives of Undocumented Migrants (Pluto Press, 2014) with Alice Bloch and Roger Zetter.

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