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My Share of the Sky: Review 2


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This documentary by the celebrated Danish producer Rikke Houd, in collaboration with Iranian journalist Sheida Jahanbin, is a work of art. It is also a powerful piece of documentary journalism that measures the pulse of a young couple’s emigration from Iran and their attempts to settle in Norway. The narration by Sheida Jahanbin, our guide to establishing a new life as an asylum seeker, is lent a profound dimension by being choreographed in a sophisticated ‘hocketing’ with the voiced-over translation, which acts as Sheida’s Norwegian voice. This is an inspired device, which also serves as a metaphor in a story about communication, translation and transition. This documentary communicates both the circumstances of how a young couple escapes the horrors of imprisonment, suffering the anguish of exile and difficulties of assimilation, and, remarkably, it conveys the sense of how it feels to endure these trials. It’s both a map of what has to be gone through and a poetic reflection on that migration.

There are countless potential narratives in this documentary – relating to history, poetry, activism, social care, personal dislocation – but the achievement of My Share of the Sky is to fulfil all of them. And more. Memory and dream or nightmare carry as much weight as reportage. A yearning for expression saturates this documentary, as is brilliantly encoded into every detail of the production. There is at work here a deeply empathetic intelligence that measures 'how' and 'why' as accurately as 'what'. Through an exemplary use of the unique palette available to the radio feature maker, My Share of the Sky demonstrates how fact and feeling, journalism and art, the everyday and the elevated can dance together in a profound expressive form. The program was a finalist in the Prix Europa 2012.