Film: 4197

Places + Locations | 1920 | Silent | B/W


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The nomad Bedouin tribe of the Bakhtyari from Turkey.
A girl with a calf on her back, climbing up the steep cliff. The men encourage the donkeys to climb, a horse had to be tied and pulled up. The cliff is almost vertical. "Beyond the cliff and the next nights camp, Haidar and Lufta lead on into the snow mountain country". They can see them from a long way away as they cross over a hill. The snow mountains first line of defence is a freezing torrent. Again the tribes need to cross the waters, as they flow from under the snow slopes. First the donkeys are made to cross despite their reluctance. Each child is holding onto a donkeys back, then the horses are pulled through. A woman is riding on a cow, calves are tied to donkeys backs. Herds of goats crossing. "With skirts in the freezing water, the women struggle gamely on". A lamb is riding on a donkey, young donkeys being pulled by the scruff of their necks. And now at last, the tribes come face to face with the most dreaded enemy of all.... the snowy mountain. Clouds leaning on its top.
"Fierce old Zardeh Kuh, twelve thousand feet of defiance in rock and snow and ice. " They all walk on in a row on the snow. Haidar and his volunteers cast aside their shoes of flimsy, cotton... they must go barefoot in the snow to break trail. The old men with their tools carving the way through the snow and ice, the tribes behind them. There's courage in the piper leading on the herds. The men have carved a path through the steep snowy slope, barefoot through the snow. Very slowly they all proceed, an old woman is hitting a donkey. "Wallah Billah! Get on, oh mother of Satan !" A long binding trail of dark figures on a white background, seen from above. Haidar lead his horse, behind him Marguerite. A sick mule is being carried on a mans back. Looking up a long way ahead. Looking down, five hours of walking up and up are behind them. A lamb is riding on a donkey, chickens ride too. Women carrying the cradles on their backs. 10,000 feet where the wind is keen as steel. The women and children struggle on and up. A view from above of the long snakelike trail. Night and day, climbing onwards and slowly. The top of Zardeh grows nearer. Climb or die all as one. At last, the great moment. The Battle with fate is won.... ZARDEH KUH is conquered. Haidar, Kufta, Marguerite and two white horses are standing on the top looking down. Seeing the long trail behind, looking ahead with a big smile.
Now going down the other side, stumbling away with frozen bleeding feet and pain wrecked bodies. A view from above as they cross a valley, hope quickens their steps. "Hurry, hurry on the valley of promise beckons. Yo Ali! the snow is left behind, plants are about for the first time". A view of the mountain that was left behind. They have fought and attained their goal, they have fought a valiant fight. As they reach the promised land of grass, tents are up. Haidar and Lufta. Chief is smoking, cows are eating.

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