Film: 4195

Places + Locations | 1920 | Silent | B/W


"Out across the barren infinity of Arabia" pan shot of desert hills. Desert policeman. The one sign of man's law from Baghdad, Mesopotamia or Iraq, to Nedjd. Close up of the policeman, he rides a camel, has a star on his head band. He protects them from the marauding Bedouins. Men in front of tents. Muhammadan in command of the police force giving orders. Men run around an enclosed yard in fast motion, they take guns and get on their camels to quickly ride over the horizon. "So for months we travelled, met with many strange peoples, enduring many hardships, but going ahead we were turning the pages backwards, on and on further back into the centuries till we reached the first chapter, arrived at the very beginning." On a map of Persia, a dot is marking the place of the forgotten people, who live just like 3000 years ago.
Open plain in the desert, a few tents, someone is riding a donkey, mountains are seen in the background. Women are knitting, children around, a baby lying down. Dinner time for babies, horses, goats, cows, donkeys, a woman comes to milk a goat and need to push away the lamb who is hungry too.
Haida Khan chief of the tribes and master of men arrives on a horse at the tents. Lufta, his nine year old son, looks after the horse while the chief goes in. The son brings to his father the Nargilla for a smoke. "The grass withers. the blight of sun and drought is upon us and our herds hunger." "The sheep on the dry land, without grass they will all die, our way is to the east to the far valley of Iran, where the meadows are rich with plenty." Men sit around in front of the tent, they rise and disperse. "Dance now, for tomorrow we go." The women dancing while the men sit behind, big drum and trumpet accompanies them. Two men dance with sticks. Come the morning all tents are down. Folding up the tents, loading up the donkeys, chickens get tucked inside a saddlers pouch, puppies are being tied onto the donkey's back. "Everyone's working even Haidar, the chief, who ties a baby's cradle onto a horse's back. Lufta is proud to be trusted with the Kalyan, his father's council pipe. The goats and sheep all being gathered together.
Haidar and Lufta off to command the "Quest for Grass" the two get on their white horse's backs and go. All the fifty thousand of the nomad tribe Bakhtyari must go the way of Haidar, all on the way to grass. Gathering along from all directions, up the hills, following the paths, horses, people, donkeys, sheep all heading in the same direction. On the women's back are heavy wooden covered cradles with a baby in each one. One woman is riding her horse with her two babies, up the mountain path they go, rocks on either side, an old woman is trying to convince her horse to go up the slope. A view from above as they climb. Some puppies are riding on donkeys all on their own, trying to hold on. A tramp of fifty thousand feet! The thunder of half a million hoofs! On the plains of dry desert land they all proceed. A view from above, now along a narrow path on the side of a mountain, one by one. For four days they journeyed over rugged hills, camping in the villages - until one morning before them roars a deep and treacherous torrent - mighty River Karum! A view of the river between the mountains. Not a bridge, not a boat and fifty thousand are coming! The herds are gathering on the river bank. Close up of old man blowing into a goat's skin and tying the inflated goat tightly, it floats. A group of men arrange a few of these together to form a floating surface. After punctures are plugged they tie them onto a wooden rhapsody, raft.

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