Madagascar - Mystical, Magical, Memorable

43'

Madagascar is a country of marvels. Fantastic landscapes, bizarre flora and fauna, and people infused with a deep cultural and spiritual love for nature, which is shaped by animal legends, myths, taboos and ancestor worship. Add to that the characteristically good temper of the inhabitants and it is little wonder that more and more ecotourists and independent travelers are being drawn to that fascinating island.

Dark jungles, white beaches, towering mountains and a colourful culture rich with music and dance - that's Madagascar. An island like a continent, brimming with rare and endemic species, animals and plants alike. Even though a lot of damage has been done, there is much cause for hope. Malagassy people like Augustin Sarovy are determined to save the unique nature Madagscar has to offer. His language is song. His audience are the families that live right next to or even within the pristine rainforest of the Masoala Peninsula in the North East of the island. Children are especially fond of the energetic activist. With songs, stories and games he conveys his message of conservation. He takes us by thehand and leads us through his beloved rainforest by the sea. Ancient secrets are revealed and taboos are honoured; odd looking frogs, chameleons, red forest crabs, and lemurs are discovered. We find ourselves immersed in nature and music - a perfect harmony.

Another kind of music lives at an altitude in the mountains of Madagascar. Napoleon and his friends play their guitars in defence of the bitter cold. Singing their songs of the highlands they are waiting for the rice to be cooked. Napoleon is a mountain guide. He knows every rock, every animal in Andringitra National Park. The morning finds him scouting the meadows of the high plateau. An incredible variety of orchids is flowering, chameleons and grasshoppers forage in the tall grass. But the magnificent mountain landscape is not just picturesque it is also an essential source of water for the rice patties in the valley below. An intricate system of water channels flows down from the heights, each owned by one family of rice farmers. The people here know about the importance of nature, they value its gifts and treat it with respect and reverence.Esteem for the natural world of their home country is immanent to ANGAP, the Malagassy conservation organisation. Odile and some of her rangers take a trip through their territory, the dry forest of the South West. Majestic baobab trees are peaking through the dense brush they are passing on the way.

The rangers need to talk to the boat builders on the coast, the fishermen. The traditional "boutre" for transportation and the pirogue for fishing are both built with wood from the fragile forest. It is also a resource for traditional healers. Plants of unknown medical value are still out there to be discovered. While the rangers talk to the locals in an effort to solve their issues with the least possible impact on the forest, we take a dive in the crystal clear waters of the Malagassy coast. Coral reefs of unsurpassed beauty hover just below the surface. A Garden of Eden for countless fish and other exotic sea creatures. An unspoilt coastline, mangroves, and salt lakes. Briefly the trunks of giant baobabs are glowing as red as the burnt Malagassy soil that sustains them. A beautiful sunset at the end of another gorgeous day on an exceptional island in the Indian Ocean."Madagascar - Mystical, Magical, Memorable" provides audiences with a profound impression of Malagassy culture as it relates to nature and its conservation. Traditional knowledge, taboos and folk tales are intertwined with the destiny of a diverse and highly endemic wildlife striving for a common future.

 

Producer: Marco Polo Film AG
Production year: 2009

Languages: English, German, French

Screener