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Cry of the Owl (Himba)

The Powerful Women of the Himba Tribe in Namibia

Year: 2005, 72 mins
Code: DFE-Cry

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In the north-western corner of Namibia, near the Angolan boarder, one of the most desolated regions of Africa, live the Himba. They are one of the last ethnic groups trying to maintain a traditional way of life. Winds of change, progress and modernism coupled with the real menace of AIDS, threaten to annihilate the ways of the Himba. The filmmakers get the rare opportunity of an intimate and personal look into the day-to-day lives of one family. The Himba opened their hearts and huts, sharing their feelings, thoughts, desires and fears.

The storytelling takes us through the four seasons of the year. The film meets the family at difficult times: Big Mama is diagnosed with TB and fighting for her life. She is hospitalized in the nearest town, hundreds of kilometers away from the village. The clan finds it hard to cope in the absence of Big Mama. To make matters worse, they must also survive a mysterious cattle disease killing their herd at an alarming rate. Cry of the Owl follows three generations of strong Himba women as they raise their children and cope with the immense difficulties of survival. 

This film, shot in 2005, is an astonishing intimate portrait never seen before of the Himba people. A must-see for Africa studies, Women studies, Social and anthropological studies.

Jules Verne Film Festival

Erez Laufer was born and raised in Israel, and graduated from the Film and Television department at Tel-Aviv University.

His film Mike Brant-Laisse Moi T'aime won the 2002 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary for 2002, and had its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 2003.

He has worked on numerous projects with renowned filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, including the Oscar-nominated The War Room, a three-part series celebrating Woodstock's 25th anniversary called Woodstock Diary, the documentary, and Only the Strong Survive.

In 2001, Erez joined with "Steps For the Future," an international collaboration of filmmakers working on an HIV/AIDS film campaign project for South Africa, and in 2003 he joined the Africa 10 team to work on a series of films for the 10 year anniversary of South African Independence.


"...Its uniqueness lies in the intimate familiarity that it presents in connection with a way of life, in the quietness of local residents, their slow pace and their openness." -- Haraetz newspaper.

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