Hind Meddeb

Documentary · 2019 · Co-directed by Thim Naccache

Paris Stalingrad

This film reveals a hidden side of Paris, between State’s violence and human rights abuses against refugees arriving from countries in war to start a new life here.

Paris, summer 2016. Refugees arriving from Sudan, Ethiopia, Erythrea, Somalia and Afghanistan have no other choice than to sleep in the streets. Makeshift camps start growing in Stalingrad district. 

I witnessed the French state’s violence against these new immigrants and decided to film their daily life, between police raids, massive arrests, and closed immigration offices. I made this film to share my experience on their side of the story, to reveal a hidden part of the city, to make visible the invisible ones.

Until that night, when I met Souleymane, a Sudanese teenager who lost everything during the war in Darfur. Whenever others denied his humanity, whenever he faced torture, slavery or abuse, Souleymane found solace in the one thing nobody could take from him: his poetry. For him, each poem is a way to say the unspeakable, to sublimate the violence he endured throughout his journey. I filmed Souleymane in his Parisian wanderings, to the beat of his poetic ramblings.

This shooting is part of the continuity of an approach I have been pursuing for several years in my documentaries and by which I want to take the time for meeting oppressed people and giving them a voice. I am with those I film, in a close relationship; and this is how it becomes possible to collect stories without filter and that are given to me with confidence.

I didn’t make a survey of the refugee’s journey in Paris, but a film that shows moments spent by them: the brutal experience of a street life and the joys of friendship. I prefer true conversation to interview, to preserve spontaneity in the exchanges. In the editing, I often made the choice to let my questions be heard, not to erase my voice, because it's a way to remind of my presence to the viewer and show the personal relationship that I maintain with those I film. In conclusion, I must admit that in the face of the many acts of violence and inhumanity inflicted on these people, I sometimes thought that I was making a film committed to alert the public. But over the course of the editing, it became clear that the most powerful counterpoint to what refugees endure when they arrive in Paris, is the life force that inhabits them, the extreme lucidity of their analyses and the intellectual and poetic finesse of their writings. Finally, police brutality and administrative violence are, in my opinion, referred to in this film as a setting and not a subject; the real subject of this film is the people it takes as characters.



On screen: Lami T. Nagawo | Souleymane Mohammad | Valérie Osouf | Adam Misscall | Galaxy Mohammad | Agathe Nadimi | Johan Corceron |

Original music: Bachar Mar Khalife |

Produced by Les Films du Sillage
In coproduction with Echo films |

Supported by: CNC | SCAM | AFAC | Région Ile de France | Région Grand Est | Procirep Angoa | Images de la diversité |



· 41th Cinéma du Réel

· Toronto International Film Festival 2019

· Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage 2019

· DOC NYC 2019

· Festival des Cinémas d’Afrique du Pays d’Apt

· 41th Cairo International Film Festival

· Rencontres Films de Femmes Méditerranée 2020

· Sharjah Film Platform 2019

· 31th Palm Springs International Film Festival

· 6th Sudan Independent Film Festival

· 26th "Africa Alive" in Frankfurt

· CPH:DOX* Copenhagen int. doc. festival 2020

· Bergen Arab Film Festival 2020

· Amsterdam Arab Film Festival 2020

· Stockholm Women Int. Film Festival 2020

· African Film Festival of Tanger-Tetouan 2020

· Festival du Film du Cap Spartel 2020

· Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa 2020

· ZINEXIT Human Rights Film Festival of Bilbao

· 10th Festival Internacional de Cine Político

· Festival Cinéma du Monde de Sherbrooke 2020

"60 years after ‘Chronique d’un été’ comes a new verité look at Paris". “Paris Stalingrad is a tough, ultra-modern critique of the West’s inhumanly slow response to people whose lives have been utterly transformed by the endless civil wars and environmental destruction that’s taking place in so many places around the world. »Point of View Magazine
Paris Stalingrad isn’t escapist entertainment you enjoy on a Saturday night with a bucket of popcorn. But if more of us faced and confronted the difficult realities by watching a film like this, we could be real-life heroes providing an escape route to those who desperately need it. Film Threat
This documentary highlights refugees living in Paris’ Stalingrad district, many of whom are young men from Afghanistan and impoverished countries across Africa. The film showcases the hardships of refugee life, but also its stories of hope.Global Citizen
Meddeb captures a chorus of voices expressing anxiety, friendship, history. Paris Stalingrad’s purpose seems not to presume change things with her filmmaking as much as to capture the stories that took place within this period. In that unswerving, ungarnished journalism perhaps the more political act can be found. TheSeventhRow
French director Hind Meddeb offers a humanist and committed documentary on the fate of homeless migrants trapped on the streets of Paris. Cineuropa
The film is nonetheless a vital on-the-ground document that shows how the sans-papiers were treated at the time — and how, in the months that followed, the city government erected fences, playgrounds and other structures to prevent them from settling back in the Stalingrad area.The Hollywood Reporter
Sur la question des réfugiés, la section TIFF Docs a invité la réalisatrice Hind Meddeb à présenter le documentaire Paris Stalingrad (coréalisé avec Thim Naccache) lequel dévoile une partie peu connue de la capitale française.Le Monde
The question of refugees isn’t one that hasn’t been well documented of late in cinema, but Meddeb’s project stands out for its intimacy. Each refugee she speaks to comes from a different part of the world and out of a different conflict, each carrying a whole world with them as they fled for their lives. Cinemascope
Plenty of documentaries are political in nature, but what separates Hind Meddeb’s second documentary feature, Paris Stalingrad, from the pack, is the director’s self-infusion into the film. It cannot be said that Meddeb hides behind her camera. Intheseats
Multiple docs at the fest tackle different facets of immigration in Europe, with Love Child featuring an Iranian family seeking asylum, Paris Stalingrad surveying refugees living in Paris, and My English Cousin following a longtime resident of England considering a return to his native Algeria.Hyperallergic