Watch Quietly Engaging, Tragic Immigrant Tale 'Oury Jalloh' (Based on a True Story)
Photo Credit: S & A

Watch Quietly Engaging, Tragic Immigrant Tale 'Oury Jalloh' (Based on a True Story)

More to add to your #WorldRefugeeDay watch-lists…

I like the quiet simplicity of this short from filmmaker Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau, titled “Oury Jalloh.”

Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau is the son of a German father and a Colombian mother. Since 2006, he has realized projects in Colombia, Brazil, Cuba and Germany. With his last short film “Mila Caos” he was selected for the Cannes Director’s Fortnight, Rotterdam and many other International Film Festivals. He has won several awards, including the German Human Rights Film Prize for the film you are about to watch, “Oury Jalloh.”

As you will learn at the beginning of the film, Oury Jalloh was a Sierra Leonean refugee who died in a fire in a police cell in Dessau, Germany, with his hands and feet chained to a bed in the cell.

According to the investigators, the fire broke out in the cell around midday. The fire alarm went off on two occasions. Noises and cries for help coming from the acoustically controlled cell were registered but ignored. Allegedly, the supervising police officer turned off the sound of the acoustic system shortly before twelve because he could not understand a telephone conversation. Only when the air-control alarm went off did he go down into the basement where the cell was located. But by that time Jalloh was found lying on a burning mattress, his body severely burned and his hands bound to the bed frame.

The case caused national and international outrage. Two officers were charged with involuntary manslaughter, respectively, but were acquitted for want of evidence. Sounds all very familiar doesn’t it?

A death that should’ve been avoided, and a terrible way to die. It’s a story that I don’t think is widely-known.

Director Paetau’s 30-minute film below tells Oury’s story (part of it anyway) before any of the above occurred, which is important to note. He shows the kind of life the man lived, in essence humanizing him and personalizing the story for the audience. I should add that the actors in the film are all Oury’s real-life friends, and non-professionals. Moussa Conde stars as Oury.

It’s a quiet, engaging character study – essentially as an immigrant tale that ends in tragedy.

Watch in full below on #WorldRefugeeDay:

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