Afghani cousins Jamal and Enayatullah live in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, on the Afghan bolder. Jamal, an orphan, scrapes a faring in a brick factory and lives in the sprawling Shamshatoo refugee camp. Enayatullah works on his family's market stall. To givB him and his family the opportunity of a better life, it is decided that Enayatullah will be sentto England. Jamal persuades the family 1hat he should go too. The pair join the ranks of the 1 million refugees per year who place their lives In the hands of people smugglers.
Their journey is overland: longer and more hazardous than by air, but, crucially, much cjj63^ Their route takes them over the border into Iran, across to Tehran, into the mountainous Kurdish region and on to Turkey. Originally part of the 'Silk Road', its a welMrodden smuggler's route. From Istanbul, the pair embark on the most gruelling passage - 40 hours sealed in a freight container with other desperate refugees. But for the survivors of the crossing to Italy the road ; must continue. Across Europe iving on wits and luck and finally to the refugee camp at Sangatte. France. Then the last leg, stowing away on a lorry bound for the UK.
This journey is a distillation of Ihe experiences of a multitude of real life asylum seekers and migrants - courageous people seeking a better life, whose stories so often end in tragedy.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

Written by: Tony Grisoni

Produced by: Andrew Eaton

Cinematography: Marcel Zyskind

Editing: Peter Christelis

Original Score: Dario Marianelli

Sound Design: Stuart Wilson

Cast: Jamal Udin Torabi (Jamal), Enayatullah (Enayat)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Film 2003
  • European Director 2003
  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2003
  • Feature Film Selection 2003