100 minutes, 2019
Directors: Sami MERMER (Canada, Turkey) and Hind BENCHEKROUN (Canada, Morocco)
Production : Les Films de la Tortue (Canada)
In the middle of Turkish Anatolia is a Kurdish village, Xalko. Filmmaker Sami Mermer, who, like so many others, has emigrated to the West, returns to visit the place where he was born. He finds Xalko populated mainly by women, with just a few men — those who remained.
With co-director Hind Benchekroun he introduces us to the “flip side” of migration. Thanks to the filmmakers’ close relationship with the people they film, “Xalko” chronicles a way of life threatened by the exodus, while also being a poignant portrait of strong women living without men.
This return to source is also an opportunity to confront together the guilt of those who left, and the bitterness – often expressed with humour – of those who have worked hard to keep the life of the village afloat.
Sami MERMER, born in Turkey, and Hind BENCHEKROUN, from Morocco, have been working in the world of cinema for several years. Together they directed the documentaries “The Box of Lanzo” (2006), on homelessness in the United States, “Turtles do not die of old age” (2010), about three old men in northern Morocco, and “Callshop Istanbul” (2015), about immigrants passing through Istanbul. This film has been shown in several festivals, winning numerous awards: the Grand Prix 2M and the Fidadoc Human Rights Award in Agadir (2016), Best Documentary at the Duhok Film Festival and at the Golden Tree Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Editing and Best Documentary at the 2017 Gala-Québec Cinéma.