Watch Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun
- 52 min
Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun is a 1989 documentary film directed by the renowned German filmmaker Werner Herzog. The movie focuses on the Wodaabe people, a nomadic tribe of cattle herders in Niger, Africa. The film provides an intimate and a stunning portrait of a unique culture that has remained relatively unchanged for centuries.
The Wodaabe people are known for their annual Gerewol festival, a week-long celebration that takes place during the dry season. The festival is a showcase of male beauty and features a competition between a group of young men who are judged by a group of women based on their physical attractiveness, dance moves, and overall charisma. The winner is then crowned "Yaake," which translates to "the most beautiful one."
Through the lens of Herzog's camera, viewers get a glimpse into the Wodaabe's rich cultural heritage and daily life. The filmmaker provides a voiceover that explains the rituals and customs of the Wodaabe, such as their polygamous practices and the role of cattle in their society. The movie also offers a critique of the impact of Western colonialism on tribal cultures, particularly the imposition of Christianity and the erasure of indigenous beliefs.
The beauty of the film lies in its ability to transport audiences into the heart of the Wodaabe's world. We see their elaborate dress, intricate facial tattoos, and colorful jewelry. We witness their day-to-day life as they travel through the harsh desert, tending to cattle and preparing for the Gerewol festival. We also witness their spiritual practices, which include trance-like dances, divination, and sacrifices.
One of the standout scenes in the film captures the Gerewol festival, where we see the young men performing intricate dances adorned in headdresses, makeup, and jewelry. The women watch from the sidelines, analyzing each man's appearance and demeanor. Through Herzog's camera, we feel the excitement and anticipation of both the men and women as they wait for the winner to be announced.
Another standout scene is the Wodaabe's reaction to a solar eclipse. The tribe believes that a solar eclipse is a sign of chaos and so they react by dancing, singing, and howling at the sky to try and bring order back to the universe.
Herzog's direction is impeccable, as he captures both the beauty and the harshness of the Wodaabe's environment. The cinematography is stunning, with vast shots of the desert landscape and intimate close-ups of the tribe's members.
Overall, Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun is a unique and mesmerizing film that provides a glimpse into a culture rarely seen on the big screen. Herzog's documentary is a celebration of indigenous practices and traditions, and a reminder of the rich diversity of the human experience.
Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun is a 1989 documentary with a runtime of 52 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.