Film: 9422

Places + Locations | 1960 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Life on the River Schari in Central Africa 1960's

A map of Africa; followed by credits. On the map, close-up on Nigeria; Lake Chad, south of the Sahara desert. Aerial view of the river, and a long way one side of it. Many people from the (phonetic spelling) Kutuku people gathered on the bank of the river; on it, there are many empty wooden boats. On the bank, a man makes a large pile of branches; the boats in the river are visible. People walking with a donkey carrying a large sack of goods to take to market. To the right of the branches, a woman carries a basket of clothes, and puts them down on the river bank. A large shot of the market; there are several stalls with people selling clothes. A closer shot of the market; a crowd of people, some carrying baskets. Large sacks of goods; pan across to see a crowd of people, and a truck, from which two people unload produce.

People standing by many circular slabs of ? Cut from the deposits around Lake Chad; a boy carries one of them on his head. The slabs from a different angle. The market place in the centre of the town; huts at the back of the screen, two men walking towards a tree in the centre. A closer view of the market place, a stone wall with many arches in the background; people walk amongst the various stalls. Men walk on a main path, past food stalls. One of the stalls, selling rice, seeds and nuts. An open space in the centre, a sandy path, with various stands in a circle around it, and people gathered in the middle. A man selling fish. People walking down a path between clothes stalls. A mother and young boy buying fish. The boy picks meat off a fish and eats it. A crowd, including a woman carrying a baby on her back. An open space near the wall; many sit in the centre of the area; a man with a bicycle.

Aerial shot of Savannah grasslands. The same, more sparse, with with a very few shrubs. An upwards view of a tree; pan downwards to Savannah grass, and other trees in the distance. Horned cattle walking past. Men stand by as the cattle walk past, kicking up dust as they go. A man leading animals down a wide sandy path, trees on either side. A family of three walking down a long path; the mother and the son carry baskets on their shoulders. The family walking through a desert area with scattered trees, towards the camera; the father, at the front, carries a spear. Desert with trees. The top of a tree that has managed to blossom. Another. A barren tree. The skyline over the tops of trees. The family walking through long grass, past a patch of long grass on fire. Grass on fire. Two people walking past the fire. The feet and shadow of someone carrying a container full of water. Ashes of burnt grass, with a few barren trees. The family walking through desert.

An aerial view of the wide river. Another aerial view, with banks of sand in the middle of the river. A view of a village near the river, from the air. Pan across straw huts in the village. The straw huts from a vantage point. A woman scooping cornflower into a container. She carries the container out of her hut. Outside, she pours the vegetables onto an already existing pile of them, and puts them into a pot. A closer view. Back to wider view; a man walks there with a huge wooden implement. He grinds the cornflower with it. Two men grinding. The same, from a long distance. A woman crushing the cornflower inside her hut. A woman stops grinding, and then runs some through her fingers. She scoops it into another container. She continues to do so, before picking up the container, and tipping the food into another bowl.

People on the bank of the river; those who had gone to market get off of boats, and carry their purchases; one man walks over to a fishing boat on the bank. Men inside the boat work at making and repairing the boat, while the other man inspects their work. Close-up of a man tying rope around a bunch of tall grass. Another man tightens rope used to hold the boat together. A man hits the bunches of grass with a hammer. A man making a rope. An old man making a rope. A man hitting a piece of wood with a wooden club. A man making a net. People sitting on the shore; in the background, a man scoops water out of an upside-down boat. Two people tying bunches of grass onto the sides of boats. Four men rowing a fishing boat. A man on a smaller boat splashes the water with a stick, to make noise to get the fish gathered. The large net at the front is lowered. The man splashes the water. Both boats. A close-up of the branch being smashed into the water. Both boats again. A boy hitting the front of the small boat with wooden sticks. The man rowing with the stick and then hitting the water. The boy drumming on the boat. Both boats. The large net being raised. They pour the fish they have caught into the boat. They sail back to shore.

A woman gathers water into a container, puts it on her shoulder, and carries it back to the village. She continues taking it away from the bank. She takes it past huts in the village. An old man. The woman pours water into a larger water jar. She washes her hands and plates. A woman scoops food with a plate. She scoops more out, and puts it onto a metal plate at the side. She takes more food out. A boy. More food. Again onto a large metal plate. Fish being put into a frying pan. Boiling food; fish on the frying pan being turned over. Men around a net, while people walk by in the foreground with spears. Men making the net. A woman carries the food over, and they start to pass it around. Bread is broken, and passed around; men scoop food from a bowl. People dip bread in other food. A man eating. People dipping bread. A man eating.

A tree in the centre of the village. Many people sit in the shade of a tree, or of a wall. A man creates tools in the shadow of the wall. The same. Boys swim in the river by a boat. Children copy text from the Qur'an on tablets. Someone dips a pen in ink made from vegetable dye. Close-up of children writing on tablets. The same again. A closer view of the writing.

People construct the walls of a house. A man on the wall puts a mix of mud or clay with straw on the wall of a house. A man at the bottom of the wall throws some of this mixture up. The man at the top rubs the mixture onto the wall. Two women make the mixture, using a bowl of water. One of them makes a ball of the mixture. They then make a floor with it. Men make the framework of the roof from branches. They tie them together with ropes. A man passes a branch up, which is then put in place. A straw matting is taken over to the house. The village weaver makes a straw matting. The same, from a different angle. He ties bits of straw together. The mats are laid over the framework. A woman smooths the walls out, while very young children play in the mud. Men lay the matting out further.

The fishing net is taken off the two poles it is rested on. The large fishing boat moves off for the night's fishing. The small boat follows. The large boat is rowed along. The men on the boat take a bowl of a special meal prepared. Two old men. The boats set off. Many boats are seen from a distance moving down the river.

A fire burning at night. A woman takes two burning logs from the fire and walks through a door. She puts them down in another room. A woman walks over to her sleeping child. A closer view of the sleeping child. The mother puts a screen over the door to keep the draught out.

The fishing boat heads back home at first light. The fishing boat on top of the water. The boat heads to shore, where there are children waiting to greet them. Small rowing boats and another fishing boat sail towards the river bank. A boat is positioned next to the bank. A man gets out of it carrying a large container full of fish. Two men carry the fish over a sandy path back to the village. Women move fish from one basket to another. A woman carries a basket of fish up the river bank. A man and three children struggle to pick up a huge fish, before carrying it up the sandy bank. A man puts small fish into a container which a young boy carries on his shoulder. Two boats right next to each other by the edge of the river. Women carry baskets of fish up the sandy bank. A woman cuts up fish, while her son brings a basket of fish in, picks another up, and goes away. He puts the fish on a mat on the sand, for it to dry out. A closer view. Many fish hung on racks, on small wooden poles rested on branches; a man takes some fish off these racks, and puts them in a container, which another man takes away. The Schari, plus the bank on the left hand side, a tree standing on it. A man rowing down the river, on a boat with various goods on it. The same. A map of Nigeria: end credit, and "The End".


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