Directed by : Abdi Ismael JAMA

  • Year of production : -1
  • Country : Somalia
  • Length : 90 minutes


Queleh lives in the countryside of Northern Somalia with his father, mother and two younger sisters. The family grows corn and vegetables that they sell at the market in town. The father teaches Queleh how to farm and what his responsibilities are as a man: working the fields, planting corn and hunting. Queleh falls for beautiful Nourah, the youngest daughter of the village chief. Queleh's father is preparing to put his son through the hangool rite in a few weeks time, so that he becomes a true shepherd. His father is arrested by government troops because he wrote letters protesting against the execution of 70 of his clan members by the military regime. Queleh's initiation rite is put off to a later date and he now has to bear complete responsibility for his family, their harvest and selling their produce.


For more than ten years, I've been wanting to tell the world why so many Somali have fled their native country. More than that, I want to tell the whole story in which the violence goes hand in hand with its beauty and the every joys and sadness of life in Somalia as I lived it as a child. At the heart of the feel of the film lies something I experienced myself: as a child I worked in the cornfield, chasing birds with my father; I worked myself into a sweat to master the sling­shot. I traveled to the city to sell what we had har­vested; I sweated as profusely as I had done in the field, this time out of fear of the soldiers who threatened me with their machineguns and stole my produce. "Queleh" has these kinds of incidents and feelings as its starting point. This makes not just a film about a boy growing up in harsh circumstances, the film is told from a boy's perspective. I returned to Somalia for the first time in sixteen years, in 2004. The violent past of the country is omnipresent. Houses are painted in bright blues and yellows, as if the Somalis have tried to brush away all memories of the horrible war. On the other hand, there are ruins and abandoned tanks that tell the story of a dreadful civil war that cost the lives of thousands of Somali and tore apart families. "Queleh" is my story but it is also the story of all those other refugees.


Abdi Ismael JAMA - Director


Language film : Somali
Working budget: 8,9M €
Financing acquired: 1,8M €




L'Atelier 2008