You think the earth is a dead thing


Tu crois que la terre est chose morte

  • Florence Lazar

  • 2019
    • France
  • 70 min
  • Colour
  • PRODUCTION
  • Sister Productions

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In Martinique, an exploration of places that are resisting the ecological crisis, and a mise-en-scène of the women and men who see themselves and act on the historical terrain of coloniality.
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PRINT SOURCE: Sister Production, info@sisterprod.com

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A quarter of the land in Martinique is polluted, for one good reason: a highly toxic pesticide, chlordecone, was used for several decades, without any control, to treat the banana plantations, the island’s main economic resource. The film explores the places that resist this ecological crisis and portrays women and men who are thinking and acting on the historical terrain of coloniality.

« Tu crois que la terre est chose morte » portrays the ecological and political context in Martinique through encounters with local rural men and women, an ethno- pharmacologist, a herbalist. The situation is marked by widespread pollution mainly due to the extensive use of chlordecone. For over twenty years this carcinogenic pesticide was used by a handful of the descendants of the first slave-owning colons in the Caribbean so as to protect the plantations supplying bananas for export. The resulting pollution has rendered the population’s life particularly precarious and reflects what Malcom Ferdinand calls, in his book Decolonial Ecology, a colonial living: “More than a constraint due to market effects, ecological domination denotes here that a toxic life has purely and simply been imposed.” The film’s different characters explore alternative approaches to counter this environmental destruction using the ancestral know-how that has been handed down to them. As result, the view of nature also wavers; sometimes, it appears domesticated with large-scale exploitation, at times contaminated by invisible toxic substances and at other times as an ally in the struggle for survival.

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