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Witness
Preview: Waiting at De Gaulle
A look into the surreal life of an Iranian living in an airport lounge.
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2009 09:06 GMT

Watch part two

There is a unique kind of frustration that takes hold when stuck in an airport waiting for a plane.

But it can not be compared with the plight of Mehran Nasseri Karimi, who landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in August 1988 and was stuck there for more than 11 years when filmmaker Alexis Kouros met him.

Nicknamed Sir Alfred by airport staff, the Iranian man has been stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport in a bizarre timewarp as a result of obscure immigration rules which mean he can't set foot outside the airport.

So for Mehran the various airport lounges, shops and check in desks are home. The interaction with passing tourists, airport staff and journalists are the closest thing to family he has.

He has breakfast at McDonald's since it replaced Burger King a few years ago. He eats lunch at McDonald's or at La Palme, he hardly sleeps and never gets fresh air.

Mehran's world is so surreal that his life has been turned into a major Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Rageh Omaar talks to Alexis Kouros, the director of the film, about making a film with a man whose reality is life in an airport.

The Preview for Waiting at de Gaulle can be seen on Thursday, October 1 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0830 and 1900; Friday: 0330, 1400 and 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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