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Sunday, May 26, 2013

SIFF Sighting: SAND FISHERS (documentary; Mali)

When a changing atmosphere and commerce collide, and demand outweighs supply, new ways of making ends meet must be found.

This is the case for a community of Bozo fisherman in Mali, who instead of spending days on the water for fish, now devote their time to compact sand and gravel. They deliver it to construction sites in town the way they once delivered fish to market.

Climate change is to blame for the shift, and resources being slim as they are make this a surprisingly dangerous, competitive industry.  There is money to be made from the sand and gravel, but the capitalist landscape is fierce.

The story of men who work in this field is told here in an often slow documentary, made harder to swallow with typos in the subtitles and unnecessarily long shots of scenery.

Though they profile a variety of sand fishers and their families, the audience isn't given much of a chance to get to know them or develop any attachment to them.

Perhaps an intro that shared more of their life before sand fishing emerged would have helped so we could see the contrast in their responsibilities and hardships. Or just more balance between the "daily life" shots and the actual adventures they faced.

SAND FISHERS screened at the 39th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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