Across the River| 2hr : 30mins
Director: Michael PILZ | Producer: Michael PILZ
Focus Years: 2004 | Country: Austria
in memory of Giotto di Bondone 1267 - 1337 AC, A documentary that takes its time, as languid as an old
man on an African village square. But the old man sees everything. And he knows everything. He also knows
when the lethargy finally makes way for musical ecstasy. The film is the result of the film maker's and several Austrian musicians' fascination with African music. As part of a long - term exchange project, the Austrians visited several times and collaborated with African Tonga musicians. The Tonga are part of the Bantu people and once inhabited the fertile banks of the Zambezi River. The construction of a huge dam drove the people into the desert.
The film maker shot more than 70 hours of material in 1997. This footage became a source for several films and
installations. The material for this film was also shot in 1997 during a four - day visit top the village of Siachilaba,
where several important Tonga musicians live, and during several visits to Harare. Pilz' approach avoids the ethnographic tradition of Jean Rouch. He observes and allows events to happen. He does not intervene, but also never denies his presence. He seems to have filmed permanently, even if nothing apparently happened. In this way, he recorded the preamble to events while they were still barely perceptible. A man nods softly with his head. He hums a little. As if driven by a secret law of nature, a little later the whole village is singing and dancing. But Pilz saw how it started.