Impressive documentary following several teenage boys who fled their home countries and are trying to find protection in Europe. Stories of hardship and exploitation, but also of endurance, warmth and human spirit. Stories of present-day Europe we should not look away from.
Many of them call it ‘the game’: the journey along the Balkan route into western Europe. For the teenage boys we meet in Shadow Game, it is a way to keep themselves motivated. There are different games: the train game, the container game, the walking game. ‘It’s a mission’, SK (15) from Afghanistan says. ‘If you complete it, you win the game.’ And if you fail, you will try again next time. There really is no other option.
Shadow Game brings us very close to the many unaccompanied minors trying to find protection in Europe. The disarming Hammoudi (14) from Syria tells us about the time he was stopped by masked policemen in Croatia. We see Yaseen (17) from Pakistan, carrying a little cat he found and shares his food with. For all of them, and the other boys in the film, the emotional and physical impact of what they’re going through is severe. Still, many retain a youthful, innocent optimism. Warm, human and truly beautiful.