14 kilómetros / 14 kilometers / 14 km (2007) - HQ Theatrical Trailer
The film follows the perilous journey of three characters across the Sahara to Morocco in order to cross the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain, as they attempt to reach the supposedly lavish lands of Europe where there is hope for the future. This trio consists of a young girl, Violet, who lives in a village in Mali, escaping her arranged marriage to an old man; Buba, a mechanic and a skillful footballer, and his older brother Mukela from the neighbouring Niger, who suggests that he go to Europe to try his skills there.
The characters in the film, although fictitious, are based on real people. In this film, Gerardo Olivares, who has worked as a director of wildlife, cultural, and anthropology documentaries since 1991 and whose films have been shown worldwide by National Geographic and Discovery Channel, has employed many documentary tools. This film is the result of years of research while Olivares was working on various television projects in Africa. All of the public scenes were shot on location with real people. In some of the shots, the general public acknowledges the presence of the camera either by looking through the lens or by suddenly changing direction to avoid being filmed. Although this authentic use of space helps with the understanding of the situation in those locales, it also disrupts the dramatic flow of the story. This becomes less of an issue in the second half, however, as the characters are in the midst of their journey and the film focuses more closely on them as individuals.
The story unfolds quite like a documentary as well, trying to stay honest about its subjects while showing both sides of the situation. The film tries to depict all those who have failed or died, or survived and lived through this journey, as well as those who are against this dream altogether. Along their way, the trio encounter a group of nomads who believe the future is there in Africa, and that by leaving they are bleeding Africa dry.
The cinematography is quite beautiful and makes great use of the African scenery and landscapes. There is a nice play on this environment in the framing of the film. Often, close shots of the travelers are juxtaposed with extreme wide shots of them walking in the desert, conveying how little power they have over their surroundings.
Although the film may lack the conventional in-depth character study that is common in dramas and which helps the audience to feel more compassionate towards the characters, it is an honest portrayal of the physical and psychological stress that people in those situations go through, and it still makes the audience sympathetic to them. There are some dramatic sub-plots, such as love and death, which the narrative is structured around, but they are never fully utilised in the foreground of the story, and it is essentially the yearning to know whether or not they will make it across to Spain that drives the narrative forward to the end