Two lives cross in New York. Lamis, a Lebanese woman, has just moved to the city and describes her impressions while the Brazilian man Wilson has already lived there for 10 years. We never see them on the screen, but their relationship is described in poetic Arabic and Portuguese voice-overs, which contrast starkly with the images, shot in New York, Berlin and Brazil. In this way, the film speaks literally to the imagination: the events take place between what we see and what we hear.
This hybrid form of documentary, fiction, travelogue and letters makes this 'film diary' reminiscent of News from Home (1977) by Chantal Akerman. Whereas Akerman brings together two different worlds based on letters from her mother in Belgium and images of New York, While We Are Here adds macro and geopolitical issues, such as globalisation and migration, to this approach. The main thread remains intimate and human: desire, love, fear and memories.