« Nothing grows here, neither the mockery of the poor nor the big laughter of power ». A text is woven all through the film, picked up in the evocative power of words as they concentrate on the rebel’s poetry and the violence of individual history against collective history. Crude words respond to the brutality of destinies. From the bridge between past and present, Zaho Zay hunts down the traumas of childhood and of Madagascar. Lullabies and children’s tales awake the bruises of History big and small while know-hows survive in the texture of images, of gestures, and of traditions. Wherever the past imprisons, images resist, and words resuscitate.
Zaho Zay is an elegy in two movements. The first one follows the erratic figure of a murderer on the run as he crosses different insular realities. The second one, with its documentary dryness, is tied to the still destiny of prisoners piled up in one of the island’s overcrowded prisons. A woman’s voice, alone, weaves both movements in the unity of the text, thus giving shape to the body of images out of her silences and her accents. She is the intimate address of a prison guard to her father, the criminal on the run whose memory she calls upon under the mythical traits of a Betsileo, an indigenous living in the South-East of Madagascar. The text is rooted within the memory of this spectral father, of this murderer pictured as a lonely cowboy throwing dices as he plays with his victims’ luck. Images of the country’s contradictory realities arise out of childhood recollections. In the dream, the film takes on the free and generous shape of a progression through associations outperforming pure narrative logic. From fenced-in life struggling to subsist in an overloaded and meaningless jail system to silk weavers, from Katrafay’s culture to worn-out landscapes and to empty hotels whose fate keeps them waiting for rich clients, Zaho Zay unveils the present time of an island marked by its colonial past, with nostalgia for freedom and innocence. Zaho Zay or the Red Island’s state of mind. (C.L.)
Maéva Ranaïvojaona Georg Tiller
Original version : French, Malagasy.
Subtitles : English, French.
Script : Maéva Ranaïvojaona, Georg Tiller.
Author voice over : Raharimanana.
Photography : Georg Tiller.
Editing: Barbara Bossuet.
Music : Gahms, André Fèvre.
Sound : André Fèvre, Terence Meunier.
Casting : Nabiha Akkari, Eugène Raphaël Ranaïvojaona, Michelle Eva Ranaïvojaona.
Production : Subobscura Films (Maéva Ranaïvojaona & Georg Tiller), Tomsa Films (Thomas Lambert).
Distribution : Tomsa Films (Thomas Lambert).
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