Heaven: One’s Own Haven!
Boris Benjamin Bertram had left his home in search of a shelter. He travelled four continents to find a home away from his home! He explored how people made shelters in jungles after leaving refugee camps in different parts of the globe, and documented his experience in ‘The Human Shelter’, a film made in 2018!
The Danish award-winning Director had reached a refugee camp in Iraq with his camera in 2017. There, Boris got an opportunity to meet members of a Kurd family, who told him how they survived with their culture in a tiny tent even after losing everything. Still, one could find hope inside that tent, and also some ancestral kitchenware! Also, there was a suit that costs IQD 85,000. The owner of that suit told Boris that he could not wear that in the camp. He had bought the suit for using it during official tours… but, he had to flee before using it. He had to leave many such things in his home. However, he brought the suit with him, as it was his most favourite one…
Boris Benjamin Bertram
Boris had met a little Iraqi girl at another refugee camp in Mosul. The visiting film director noticed that the girl had a notebook with her. She told Boris: “I am Suhad. I’m a poet. I want to work with you.” When he asked the girl what did she mean by home, the girl left the place. Next day, she visited Boris once again… this time, she came with a poem, titled: ‘Home’!
The Director narrated all these in his documentary film, as he shot the movie not only in Middle East, but also in Africa, Europe and other places to be acquainted with different colours of life. This is how the movie goes on. Boris found an old man and his daughter in the cool desert of Norway. They used to live in a small wooden room only because of their love for the reindeer. The old man told the Director that they used to discover something new in reindeer every day. The father-daughter duo did not have the urge to do anything else. Even they used to get an idea about time from the position of the sun. Still, they were happy as they had their own definition of civilisation!
The refugees of Turkestan, who lost their homes because of civilisation, shared the story of their own culture with Boris. They helped the Director realise that shelter does not mean a roof at the top, but an attachment with own culture and language. The roof is merely a cover… and, home is basically a psychological construction…
Boris also visited India, where people build small wooden huts in the Himalayan jungles. The marginalised people charge mobile phones with tractor batteries in northern part of India. The Danish National also found labourers sleeping on footpaths at night in big Indian cities. They paste images of film actors on footpath walls, and keep passport-size photos of their children and wives in moneybags! The labourers take shelters in those images at the end of the day…
Boris spent almost two years in different parts of the world, as he was searching the definition of shelter. At the very end of the film, Boris tried to have an idea about his own shelter! The Director, born and brought up in Copenhagen, loves the sea. Be it winter or summer, swimming in the North Sea is a part of his culture. After spending a couple of years on foreign soils, he realised why he feels at home in water.
Boris made an attempt to help the Global Community understand the real meaning of shelter at a time when the world is slowly getting devoid of shelters!
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