Along the Way by award-winning Dutch director Mijke de Jong will open the on-site 51st edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on January 26, 2022. This moving yet unsentimental feature is based on the story of daring, young Afghan twins Nahid and Malihe – who the filmmaker met during her volunteer work at Moria refugee camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos. The festival invites audiences, press and industry guests to attend film screenings, performances and installations in Rotterdam from January 26 to February 6, 2022, subject to the latest governmental regulations,
Festival director Vanja Kaludjercic: “Mijke de Jong is a familiar face with a long and rich history at IFFR, first showing here in 1990. It’s an honour to welcome her back with this latest poignant and timely film which will open our 51st edition. Thanks to the commitment of our team and support of our partners we have adapted the festival once again to fit the restrictions in place in the Netherlands. We are happy to confirm the festival will take place physically, allowing us to give the stage to all the outstanding filmmakers who have trusted us to screen their work.”
In the film, twin sisters Zahra and Fatima, fleeing to Europe, lose their family during an ambush at the border between Turkey and Iran. In the upheaval, they run in the wrong direction and end up back in Iran. Forced to fend for themselves, not knowing who to trust, they make a second perilous attempt to reach Europe. Struggling to survive, they are confronted with tough choices and moral dilemmas, taking a toll on their symbiotic relationship and conscience.
Established Dutch filmmaker and IFFR-regular Mijke de Jong based the film on the experiences of Nahid and Malihe Razaie (Zahra and Fatima), whom she met during her film workshops for young refugees in Moria Camp, Lesbos. Along the Way is moving and compassionate, yet cleverly avoids sentimentality and transcends the politically correct, leaving plenty of room for the viewer’s own interpretation and thoughts. Like the impeccable twin sisters, the entire cast is made up of refugees, awaiting their opportunity to enter ‘Fortress Europe’, to find safety.