Our docu-fiction project resides within a broad framework of themes and reflections taking place today around climate, the environment, natural resources and their implication in the future of mankind.
We chose the docu-fiction format to tell the story as it usually carries ideas - to general audience - more efficiently than an academic documentary approach to relaying facts or messages. Docu-fiction (or docu-drama) is a film genre which attempts to capture reality such as it is while simultaneously introducing deliberate elements or fictional situations in the narrative, in order to strengthen the representation of reality using desirable artistic expression.
On a tiny isolated rocky land, forgotten by the currents that afflict the world, takes place a microcosm illustration of an issue which, in its acuteness and simplicity, symbolises the great question of Humanity and its future.
In the Comoros Archipelago survive a few rare animal and plant species whose existence is confined to harsh volcanic rocks emerging in the middle of a capricious ocean. Located in a cyclonic corridor in the Mozambique Channel, the Comoro Islands have seen fail on their tortuous shores, men and women adrift of Africa, and later populations from greater distances: the Arab-Persian Gulf and the proto-Malagasy.
Over the past millenniums, flora and fauna evolved, adapting to local conditions. They developed in a natural interaction, leading to a balance and richness characterised by a vital dependence in relation to one another.
Then, Man arrived…
One of the elements that best symbolises the impact of this event - which fascinates us - is reflected in the gradual extinction of an animal unique to the Comoros. Its disappearance due to actions taken by men will undoubtedly lead to the dramatic decline of all life on the islands, including the interrelated life of people, fauna and flora.
The goal of our docu-fiction is to portray this tragedy through the description and the history of the great fruit bat of the Comoros, also known as the "Livingstone Bat" of the Megachiroptera order currently reduced to a population of more or less 800 specimen surviving nowhere else on our Planet.
Our fictional narrative highlights the primitive struggle of species in quest of both self-conservation and expansion, particularly human beings. In the Comoro Islands setting, this struggle exposes a dramatic aspect of the confinement of actors in a prison-like environment bound by the geography and topography of the land itself. As in a laboratory, both living beings and nature are condemned to live together without the option to exit.
In this boiling magma, precursor to a large eruption, man acts as the dominant species, while the Livingstone bat becomes a witness to his careless actions and, at times, becomes a prey.
On this matter, many studies and observations have been conducted by eminent researchers, academics, institutions and NGO’s. In particular, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust put together a comprehensive report about the Livingstone Flying fox and it’s situation in the Comoros islands. Moreover, our present docu-fiction intends to follow recommendations issued by respectable researchers and speakers and integrating them in the narrative. Thus, this man/animal/ environment strife—and confrontation could potentially lead to a positive outcome in which men realize that they belong to a chain of life of which they are a privileged link, carrying the responsibility which ensues from it.
It is through the eyes of Asha (the mother bat) that we will follow the course of action taken by Mosi Mbimu living in a poor fishing village on the coast of Mohélie, one of the 8 islands of the Comoro Archipelago.
Our visual narrative will alternate between angled filming from above—a bird’s eye view—and the opposite angle from the ground looking up toward the sky. We will establish a vertical dialogue between the protagonists. As during a microscopic examination, the story begins with an overview of the entire territory, and focuses on the essence of the cellular behavior that compose it.
Parables are an integral part of the proposed documentary under the guise of a fictional tale. From this point, a spiritual reflection juxtaposes itself to the earthly realities as they are interpreted by the human mind. Must survival inevitably result in the effort to eliminate what, or who is being perceived as a competitor or dominator? Or is there a more harmonious path through which the benefits for man result from the sustainability and permanence of the whole, of which he is a prominent member.
From a tighter perspective, this documentary establishes a direct link between human actions resulting from a lack of both awareness and comprehension of the reality of Life on Earth. Asha epitomizes both the long evolution of the Universe and its future. Mosi represents man both as a reckless element and a creative entity, capable of evolution towards a more humble and caring living being. What is man lacking to achieve this?
Science or Faith ?
Maybe both !
Integral to one another
By Ray Sabbah