"During the filming of the lives of the people living here, I felt surrounded by the constant thought of death," says Belgian director Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, who in 1996 set off to southern Sudan. For more than thirty years this area has been tormented by war between Arab Muslims from the North and Black Christians from the South, claiming the lives of at least two million people. Seven years after the beginning of filming the author decided to edit his material and add his own commentary. With the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight he is able to reflect on individual images. In the remote village of Mankien, Vandeweerd has faithfully captured the daily lives of the villagers, from the traditional religious rituals to the absurdly horrific battle training of the local paramilitary units. With the use of black-and-white material, the film's powerful composition serves to underscore the ever-present dust and dryness of this extremely inhospitable countryside where villagers are forced to struggle for their survival. During this period they are oblivious to the fact that within a few years their village will be completely decimated by the government military.
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