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Bamboo Stories

A documentary about people in Bangladesh making their living off of bamboos.


BAMBOO STORIES follows the journey of the bamboo from the bamboo forests in Northern Bangladesh down the river to the capital Dhaka. It‘s about the men who make their living with it: the loggers, the raftsmen, the wholesalers and retailers, and the forest leaseholders. These are stories about poor people. Bamboo is a material for the poor and those who clear the forest, take it to the river, and sell it to customers aren‘t paid well. Logger L Gets 4 taka for a trunk, a kilo of rice costs 40 taka. The logger complains because people prefer to do easier work on construction sites or in the field. Raftsman Shoheen reports: people can‘t get anything from them, the money for wood is transferred by phone, but they‘re still the target of river pirates. They take cellphones. They are third-rate pirates, poor sods like them. None of the men, neither L, Shoheen, nor the leaseholders, want their children to work at the same job as them.

In participative images, without added commentary, BAMBOO STORIES tells of a precarious life filled with dangers – there are constant accidents in the forest and sometimes people lose it. With interest and respect, the film also portrays the work itself and the specialized abilities it requires – be it the special ability to wait on a cold raft with three colleagues for weeks and only ocassionally see the famly. The most impressive thing is the logistical and technical effort with which the bamboo trunks are transported on the river. Specially dammed up seas pour out in dug up channels and carry the trunks downhill. All of it is made by hand. Clay, water, bamboo, and a machete, nothing more.

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Bangladesh/Deutschland 2019, 96 min
Language: Bengali
Genre: Documentary
Director: Shaheen Dill-Riaz
Author: Shaheen Dill-Riaz
DOP: Shaheen Dill-Riaz
Montage: Andreas Zitzmann
Music: Eckart Gadow
Distributor: Sabcat Media
Release: 14.11.2019


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