SMALL PEOPLE, BIG TREES
A film by Vadim Vitovtsev
2018, 45 minutes
2018, 45 minutes
Famed anthropologist Louis Sarno discovered the music of the Bayaka pygmies, one of the oldest peoples on the planet, nearly 30 years ago, and dedicated his life to their study and preservation.
Following Sarno’s death in 2017, the filmmakers of this documentary travelled to the rain forests of the Central African Republic to live with the Bayaka pygmies. They provide a crucial ethnographic portrait at a moment when their centuries-old cultural traditions appear on the verge of disappearing forever.
Capturing the natural beauty of the region, the filmmakers accompany the tribe as they hunt, gather fruit picked from ancient trees, celebrate dances and pray to honor the spirits of the forest. But they also document the encroaching influence of Western culture.
Entranced by the latest gadgets and technological innovations, the younger generation would rather listen to the latest pop songs than learn traditional music from their elders. The introduction of money (and all the real and imagined luxuries that it can buy) has in particular exacerbated the generation gap. Today, more youth see their future in the city than in the forest.
“I was drawn to the heart of Africa by a song,” Sarno once said, and showed us a world within Africa that we would never otherwise see or hear. This documentary is a tribute to him and his work.
Winner, Best Environmental Documentary, Hot Springs Documentary Film FestivalOfficial Selection, ArtDocFest
"Three and a half stars! Extraordinary... A compelling and insightful look at the contemporary struggle between old and new African societies, this is recommended." - Video Librarian