Khaled Abdulwahed is a refugee living in Germany. His father is in Syria, doomed to remain there, but in one of history’s ironies, he’d been a student in East Germany as part of a university exchange programme almost 60 years earlier. Using photos from this period, the filmmaker undertakes the meticulous task of manipulating the images to reintroduce his father’s face, eager, at the time, for the promises the future held, into shots of a grandiose, opulent Germany. The film records each stage of this delicate undertaking, coupled with his search for the rare traces of his father’s past presence. The son retraces the father’s steps from Dresden to Merseburg, guided by his distant, crackling voice as the father leaks memories of a previous world, flowing into the thread of a telephone conversation punctuated by poignant silences and interruptions, from which the anxiety of a definitive separation emerges. The technician’s stubborn ambition is both simple and powerful, using the intimate to create a historical montage to invent a missing archive to fill the void. Clipping his father’s body using basic photo retouching software brings to mind the work of a couturier making an alteration that reintegrates him into the fabric of history, into the foreground. In Backyard (FID 2018), manipulating the photographic image warded off loss. Instead, here, it seems to ward off fate, to reverse the trend that’s seen borders close and students turned into asylum seekers whose whereabouts are sought to show that things were once different.