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River Nomads

Documentary movies

Rivnomads pointing out2

Why a humanist documentary movie about people on the move?

  • For most people, the Sahel is associated to famines and conflicts, rebellions and jihadism, military putsch and the like. This indeed happens and the media as well as documentary movies are good at promoting this kind of information. This project is markedly different. Following the tradition of the humanist cinema and photography, our aim is to show the beauty of the daily life of people and their humanist values (solidarity, tolerance, respect and dignity). It sounds a bit romantic, I admit. What we would like to present is an alternative picture of what life in the Sahel looks like among ordinary citizens. Beyond the exotism of the landscape, the language, the pinnaces and the wild life, we want to mirror something that connect us to the everyday life of sedentary people of the global North who encounter migrants and other mobile people, people who eventually have chosen to move to make a living.
  • To the movement of people from one place to another echoes the concept of mobility. And, of course, those of strangerness and strangerhood. These dimensions are particularly present in this project that points out that ‘all people here come from someplace else’ (‘tous les gens d’ici sont d’ailleurs’).
    Moving and settling. Again, moving and resettling. From the village to the city, or the other way around. From one region, one country, one continent to another. Everywhere, the wanderer, the stranger has to redefine his/her identities and belonging(s) and to renegotiate its social status in order to access resources or rights.
  • In a world governed by sedentary people, nomadic people have long been the ideal scapegoat of the problems in the society. None the less strangers may also well be those who come with resources. The river nomads in this documentary movie are no exceptions to it (forthcoming movie nr. 2 and 3).
  • Making a documentary movie for us is about telling stories of people we like and admire, people’s whose lifestyle is fascinating. One may see this curiosity as an acknowledgement of the thirst for the exotism. I also see it as a manifestation of my own curiosity for identity as sameness. Maybe because the hunter, the fisherman, the gatherer or the wanderer is alive in me. This might well be reflected in the poetic style of this ballade of the river Niger and the chosen music.

Purchase River Nomads (English & French Subtitles)

By Eric Hahonou