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In the waiting room of martyrdom

EURODOK: Two young men are waiting to be called into action as suicide bombers in Syria. Pål Refsdal's new documentary paints a surprisingly intimate portrait.

Dugma – The Button
Director and photo: Pål Refsdal

Dugma – The Button draws a surprisingly intimate portrait of two volunteer front fighters as they await their turn on the list of martyrs who will drive an explosive truck toward the enemy and press the shutter button – in Arabic called "dugma". These are the 32-year-old Saudi Abu Quawara al-Maki and Lucas Kinney, an 26-year-old convert from West London who now goes by the name Abu Basir al-Britani. Refsdal's new film is not only remarkable because of the open access he has had to the young men, but because it shows them as partly ordinary and not least sympathetic people.

Required ransom. But let's take a detour first to shed light on the director's work: "I thank the authorities, they did a great job that I didn't know about when I was kidnapped." This is how Pål Refsdal (according to Nettavisen November 16.11.09, 2009) opened a press conference in November XNUMX , in the wake of being kidnapped by a Taliban-allied group earlier that month when he was in Afghanistan to make a documentary.
Refsdal had previously been to Afghanistan as a 21-year-old when he participated in the Mujahedin's fighting against the Soviet forces in 1985. Later, as a journalist, he often sought out dangerous areas of conflict, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Kosovo and Chechnya.
After six days as a prisoner of the Taliban group, Refsdal was released. It was speculated whether this was due to him converting to Islam, but it was also claimed that it was because the Norwegian was demonstrably a journalist,. . .

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Aleksander Huser
Huser is a regular film critic in Ny Tid.

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