Created in 2017 for the perfor- mance-exhibit “The Absence of Paths” for the Tunisian pa- vilion of the 57th Venice Bien- nale that addressed the status of the migrant in the world, Rejected is a series of twelve one-minute video portraits filmed at the camp of Choucha in Southern Tunisia. This camp, located near the Libyan bor- der, was opened in 2011 dur- ing the Libyan war and accom- modated up to 18,000 people, among which many refugees, or “third party nationals”, who had immigrated to Libya but couldn’t go back there nor to their country of origin, and therefore had nowhere to go.
Shut down in 2013 by the UN High Commissioner for Ref- ugees, the camp of Choucha continued to exist nonethe- less, as a few dozen people stayed on the site, demanding the revision of their rejected asylum applications. In June 2017, they were removed by the local authorities.
These twelve portraits filmed in 2013, shortly before the dis- mantling of the camp, almost motionless and silent, put us simply and powerfully face to face with these men, women and children fighting for sur- vival, waiting, in this sort of heterotopia, this place outside of common reality that is a ref- ugee camp.
Sophie Bachelier is a photographer and filmmaker, a graduate in Decorative Arts from Paris who also holds a Master’s degree in Eth- nology. She is interested in how the collective history meshes with in- dividual destinies and transforms them. Her work focuses on themes of memory, wandering, exile and their traces; it privileges the actual words, and the silences, of the people she meets over commentary. Her film “MBËKK Mi, the breath of the ocean” about illegal emigra- tion in Senegal as seen by those wives and mothers who remain on the shore, received special mention for Best Feature-length Docu- mentary from the Anna Politkovskaya Jury at the 30th Créteil Wom- en’s Film Festival. Her film “CHOUCHA, an unfathomable indiffer- ence” received the prize for best