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Les silences de Bolama (1989)

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guinea | africa | village | See All (3) »

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Documentary

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How not to run a village
17 April 2001 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

This eye-opening Canadian NFB documentary looks at daily life in a tiny village in Guinea-Bissau, the former Portuguese Guinea. It is truly mind-boggling to see how the daily activities of the village are all done in the most inefficient and labour-intensive manner possible. These people never seem to have invented either the table or the chair. Why do your food preparation on a tabletop when you can do it in the dirt instead? Why make yourself a broom with a long stick and a little piece of string when it's so easy to do your sweeping bent over double holding a teensy hand whisk? A man sits around all day lamenting that he would be working but he has no tools. But we'd seen his neighbours with tools earlier in the documentary. Don't they have the word "borrow" in the local language?

"Are these people for real?" is one's immediate and natural reaction. Watch this documentary if you've ever wondered how it was possible for a handful of Europeans to colonize all of Africa in a couple of decades.


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