Hot Docs 2017 Review: “69 Minutes of 86 Days” (2017) ★★★★★

It took me only a few minutes to realize what 69 minutes of 86 days was about. It took me another five minutes to understand how charming this movie is. I agree, there is nothing charming being in a refugee camp, living in a tent and running away from your own country. Egil Håskjold Larsen offers an incredible journey of Syrian refugees across Europe through the eyes of a 3-year-old girl whose dream is so big, you know, she had all rights to live and witness them coming true…

We find Lean, a little girl, her big family and other refugees in Greece, trying to find their way to peace from tormented little pieces of Syria. As the journey begins, the camera casually follows them, asking no questions or for explanations. It’s like a silent witness of a heartbreaking journey that, I should say, is something I have not seen for a while.

As it is hard to pick which scene was my most favorite one, however, there is one I particularly would like to highlight. As Lean is holding on to her uncle and her eyes are set on running to catch the big, long and beautiful train that is about to take them to their destination, Sweden, the camera runs after her, capturing how the little and exciting feet are much more eager towards the future than the actual circumstances. That scene alone left me stunned, as the music, the piano, is an absolute joy for any ears.

In conclusion, 69 Minutes of 86 Days is a documentary about running away from the way, the road journey and uncertainty. But it is also about a little girl whose eyes, through that nightmare, still sees the beauty of nature, the goodness in people and the light at the end of the tunnel, which for most adults appears dark and scary.


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