Absent Present, Angelika Levi

Wednesday, August 21 19:00

Sala Audiovisual Ruben Vizcaíno, Antiguo Palacio Municipal

IMAC – Calle 2a y Av. Constitución, Zona Centro, 22000 Tijuana, B.C.


“Absent Present” sketches some stages of his life, looking at the history of Benji’s disappearance, to understand why he decided to go underground. Benji’s history is the starting point for a journey that leads from Germany to Namibia to Spain, Canarias onto Senegal. Angelika Levi moves between transit places marked by constant arrivals and departures: sea, beach, frontiers, forests, airports. Places where very different motives for traveling meet:

Essay film about different forms of traveling in a globalized world: holidays and migration, forced returns and voluntary coming backs. Senegalese travelers say: “Either you make it to Barcelona or you end up in Barsaak.“ – which means realm of the dead in Wolof: the place of no return. Benji, a friend of filmmaker Angelika Levi, has disappeared. In 1979, he was brought from Namibia to the GDR and sent back in 1990 after the German reunification. Angelika Levi met him in 1991 while she was working as a camera assistant in Namibia. Two years later he hitchhiked back to Europe, dressed up as a tourist.

People enjoying their holiday or being kept under police custody. The film reflects post-colonial, economic and bio-political dislocations while trying not to narrow down, to judge or to value. The title of the film relates to the situation of people who have to change or to give up their national identities and become stateless without any rights. The film describes Benji’s resistance and the way Senegalese travelers re- organize themselves to challenge the borderlines of Europe.