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A Tale of Two Islands

DIR: Steffen Köhn
2012 / Germany / 15 min

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Recommend this film

On March 31st 2011 the small island Mayotte in the Indian Ocean officially received the status as the 101st department of France. Since that day, a new external frontier of the European Union separates Mayotte from Anjouan, its African sister-island belonging to the Union of the Comoros. Both Islands were for a long time part of the French colonial empire. In the wake of the African decolonization movement of the 1970s, referendums were organized on both islands. While Anjouan declared its independence, the overwhelming majority in Mayotte voted for remaining a part of France. Since then, Mayotte profits from French investments into its infrastructure, education and health system, while Anjouan looks back onto a history full of coups d’états, political turmoil and economic depression. Many Anjouanais thus try to clandestinely reach their neighbor-island in nighttime crossings with small motorboats, so called Kwassas.

“A Tale of Two Islands” describes the postcolonial space that originates from this complex political situation. It consists of two synchronized films that are projected onto two opposing screens. Documentary encounters filmed in the ports of the capitals of both islands unfold in precisely composed tableaux, revealing the invisible bonds that connect them.

The installation immerses the spectator in these two realities by placing him on the very border that shapes the life on each island. The work is structured as a loop. Each film narrates a single day, from sunrise to sunset. The cycle of everyday events thus unfolds simultaneously on both sides of the border. The audience is free to move in the installation space, yet attention is subtly guided through the sound that accentuates particular scenes and incidents.

About

Director Steffen Köhn
Screenplay Steffen Köhn, Paola Calvo
Dir. of Photography Paola Calvo
Editing Steffen Köhn, Paola Calvo
Music
Sound Daniel Engel, Alexandre Leser
Duration 15 min
Year 2012
Country Germany
Colour Colour
Tags observational, poetic, postcolonialism, social issues
Production Steffen Köhn
Steffen Köhn
Country:  Germany
Web:  www.steffenkoehn.com/
E-mail:  

Distribution
Festivals

Berlinale, Berlin International Film ...

Berlinale, Berlin International Film Festival, Forum Expanded section


Melancholy in Progress. Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Hong-Gah Museum Taipei


Monitoring, Documentary Film- and Video Festival Kassel


Vienna Art Week. Galerie Hinterland


Anthropologies Numériques. Le Cube, Paris


X-Border Art Biennial, Lulea, Sweden


Go East Festival Wiesbaden


International Short Film Festival Cairo


Danish National Museum, Copenhagen


Museum of Ethnology, Dresden

Awards


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