Diaries from an intrepid filmmaker (16)

No matter how experienced you are in documentary filmmaking and all things African – no shoot is like any other. And in particular, this shoot is like no other. Trapped in what has been described a 'closed society' – the Bijagós archipelago – Noé Mendelle struggles to find some sense of balance between traditional and modern influences. When a blog becomes your only place to vent, irony is inevitable. Raw, unfiltered and dispatched on the same day, here is the latest post in her series.

This is our last day in the Bijagós

Today was a day of ceremonies. The main one was to get Iran to enter into the sculpture the making of which we had been following for the last few weeks.

  • Eggs smashed: 4
  • Palm wine: 20 litres
  • Clothes: 3
  • Chicken sacrificed: 1
  • Goat sacrificed: 1
  • Future president met: 1

Sculpture not yet possessed by Iran

How do you know if a spirit has entered into a sculpture?

You cut the neck of a chicken, and depending on where it will drop, that will give you a clue.

We took great care to set up cameras so the killing of the goat will not be at the forefront but of course they did it completely differently to what they said they would, so we ended up with clear shot of the dying goat. The plan was to film the ceremony as a long wide shot in this mysterious forest. Of course we could not go for Take 2! Now we going to have to build the scene through close ups in order to avoid the bloody shots.

Iran entering a sculpture

We returned to our base to find a crowd of people with T-shirts to vote for Paulo Gomes for president. Yes he is back...this time with a larger team of advisors and a German filmmaker...

To us it means we will have electricity all night and be able to recharge all our batteries.

Read all of Noé's updates from the Bijagós so far.