Quick Thoughts: Man Of The Soil (Nom Tèw, 2009)
Made by Pierre Deschamps, this is the Domican film of the series.
Man Of The Soil is a short documentary that follows a native Dominican, Jerry Maka West, as he forages through the forest, collecting coconuts, bananas and water for his small home embedded in the dense greenery. With some luscious cinematography and direction, this silently observes man’s interaction with the Nature Isle of the Caribbean, providing a moment of contemplation on the way in which city life on the island differs from the interior life. Concluding the simple piece with reflection, Jerry defines this story with the words:
Children should listen to their mum and dad. Life is the soil. Since I have been a child I have been working the ground with my grandma and grandpa. This is the life within me. So, life is the soil, the river and the sea. Life is here.
With this, a collectivist sentiment is imbued into the film. Though Jerry appears alone, he asserts that he is not just apart of the land, but a product of it just as much as he is a product of his parents and their parents before him. This dual contrast between interior living and city life and collective ideals and individuality may comment on the developing culture and economy of the island which, following a history of British colonial invasion that involved slave trade, has slowly grown, and in more recent decades, this has been due tourism, trade and the island hosting an off-shore banking industry.
Sombre and simple, Man Of The Soil is worth checking out: www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi463471641
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