In This World

In This World is the story of Jamal and Enayat, two young Afghan refugees who attempt to get to a better life in London by making his way there from a refugee camp in the Peshawar region of Pakistan.

The movie follows the two as they are smuggled through Iran, all the way to Italy. It’s shot digitally, with no professional actors and has a documentary feeling. Not inappropriately, either; Jamal plays himself. Despite there being no professionals in the film (from what I can gather, at least), they acquit themselves admirably, and the occasional roughness of the performances is entirely appropriate for the movie.

The dusty, hard desertscapes has none of the grandeur of Lawrence of Arabia; there are no heroes here, only people struggling to get by. It’s odd for a Westerner to see a movie set in this region to begin; we are accustomed to seeing only crusaders and adventurers. That the locals might be going about their normal lives is most often an afterthought.

Winterbottom is an accomplished and versatile filmmaker, and In This Life fits in with his other work perfectly. And while he is also a political filmmaker, he is not didactic; the move flows naturally and there are no points of view spoon-fed to the audience. Most anyone will readily agree that poverty is bad. It’s just that the move shows the everyday reality that renders the “well, why can’t they just stay where they are” argument impotent.


  • Director: Michael Winterbottom
  • Cast: Jamal Udin Torabi, Enayatullah, Imran Paracha, Hiddayatullah
21.07.2007 • Permalink