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Shit & Chicks

Short documentary, 2006, 10 min.

In this short documentary about a farmer in Northwest Ghana, only the chickens speak. They cluck in delight when their owner scatters their meal under a tree. Tired, the farmer lowers himself on a bench: it took him all day to gather the feed for his chickens on the dusty fields around the farm. He uses an age-old technique with dung that he learned from his father, who learned it from his father, etcetera. It is an ingenuous example of sustainable, biological agriculture, but very time-consuming and (therefore) not profitable. Human geographer Kees van der Geest purely registers the operations of the farmer, who seems unaware of the camera. Only at the end of the film, Van der Geest divulges the essence of the technique. In less than ten minutes, this results in a beautiful portrait of a man and his (survival) technique in an arid country.

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