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Film’s emotional impact undeniable

“Stolen” begins as a documentary about a family reunion in Western Sahara, with the UN bringing together a mother and daughter who have not seen each other in decades.

But, just minutes after the film begins, the course of the film significantly shifts as the documentarians come to the realisation that their subjects are victims of a still-active community of slavery.

Filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw find themselves drawn into not only a battle to expose crimes against humanity, but into a political conflict between the governments of Morocco and the POLISARIO.

There are moments in this film where you have to remind yourself that you are watching a documentary and not a political thriller. The filmmakers travel from continent to continent, holding secret meetings with often mysterious figures in an attempt to reveal the truth.

While the film makes the most of emotional moments, particularly a phone conversation between Ms Ayala and the daughter of one of the documentary's main subjects, it's often the quieter moments that leave an impact.

It's hard to believe that in the 21st century you would see a young man holding a laminated card to prove that he has been ‘liberated.'

The film's emotional impact is undeniable, but since its premier at the Sydney Film Festival, the film has stirred up controversy with some critics claiming the film is inaccurate and misleading.

True or false, “Stolen” is a film that will make you think about how fortunate we are, and how close humanity's dark past still is.

n “Stolen” will screen as part of the Bermuda International Film Festival on March 24 at 9.15pm at Specialty Cinema.

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Published March 17, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated March 17, 2011 at 9:49 am)

Film’s emotional impact undeniable

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