Private Project


’Maltournée’ is a short documentary about a missed rendez-vous with a community of refugees by the canal in Saint-Denis, France. A poetical observation of the traces of past lives left in the post-industrial landscape of the Paris suburbs.

  • pooya abbasian
  • pooya abbasian
  • Afsun Moshiry
  • Hamidreza Pejman
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 21, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    France, Germany
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    March 19, 2023
    official selection
  • Beldocs
    May 14, 2023
    serbia premiere
Distribution Information
  • La Onda production
    Country: Germany
Director Biography - pooya abbasian

Pooya Abbasian is an Iranian artist whose practice spans photography, video, drawing and installation, all of which are characterised by their poetic investigation of the image as a visual entity, a medium of communication and an object of cultural representation. Abbasian's work engages with the ambiguities and transitory states of images, and through their collection and exploration, he exposes the complex and paradoxical relationship between the image and the idea we have of reality/veracity.
Drawing on his background in filmmaking, Abbasian's works convey a sense of cinematic narrative that is both captivating and evocative. His interest in the construction, distribution, and reception of images often seek to make the processes of image- making visible, while also constructing his own visual fictions.
Central to Abbasian's practice is his use of found images from the internet, films, and photographs taken during his wanderings. By collecting these documentary images, Abbasian emphasises the fragmentary and effraction nature of images, whereby a single image inscribed in space can give birth to thousands of other images, both dependent and emancipated from dominant visual economies. He use a video projector as a light source to create prints that blur the boundaries between the two mediums. This approach often results in ambiguous and poetic interpretations of his works.
Abbasian's exploration of the bridges between different mediums is akin to black holes, which open up new horizons to be explored, he seeks to inspire a sense of awe, wonder, and curiosity that transcends boundaries of both medium and mindset.
Abbasian's works have been showcased in several exhibitions and film festivals, including Le Plateau Frac-ile de France, Wim Wenders foundation, Pejman foundation, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, CPH-Dox festival, Pictoplasma festival, and BelDocs festival. His artworks have been recognised by the French National Contemporary Art Collection (CNAP), as they are included in the collection.

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Director Statement

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a master class with Wim Wenders, alongside five other directors. The theme he proposed was "A Sense of a Place." I completed a film exploring the intricate connections between memory, personal experiences, and place.
The film centers around a place in Saint-Denis—a canal-side location that evokes a peculiar sensation, reminiscent of childhood ruins. It seems to belong to no one, yet holds the potential for diverse projections—a true "no man's land." Gradually, refugees, predominantly from West Africa and the Middle East, set up tents beneath the concrete bridge. I was struck to hear Persian, my mother tongue, among them. The space I considered my own had transformed into a home for hundreds, forming a cohesive community. However, one day, they vanished without a trace, brutally evacuated by the police.
Observation lies at the heart of this completed documentary. Through traveling images along the canal, I captured the absence of the refugees and the emotions, situations, and objects that once filled that space. Voiceovers and dialogues accompany these images, sharing the profound significance of this unique place.
Initially hesitant to film the refugees, I felt inadequate in addressing such a sensitive subject, touching on intimate lives, personal histories, and wounds. Inspired by Trinh T. Minh-ha's approach, I chose to let the place itself narrate their stories. Acknowledging my role as a filmmaker, I embrace the ethic of leaving space for meaning and representation, using observation to speak in proximity rather than about.