IDFA Synopsis :
A number of farmers – Jean Rouch’s actors who more or less play themselves – is looking for a simple and cheap way to irrigate their farmland. They dream of a green Niger. While struggling against their Sahel country turning into a desert more and more, they develop the idea to get a windmill from Holland. Rouch follows the three men – Damour, Lam, and Tallou – when they examine how wind-energy is applied in Holland. Jean Rouch: “The solution we are looking for is simple, so it will work. That is the moral of the film. So many projects have been carried out in this country that have failed. They are the ‘poisoned presents’: waterpumps installed but never maintained. The landscape is filled with these modern ruins.” MADAME L’EAU unmistakably has ironic overtones, but Rouch’s effort is genuine. He protests against the tendency of Third World development projects looking for expensive and complicated solutions that do not fit in with the needs of the local population.
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