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Madagascar, 1988 (MIFF 1989)

Director: Raymond Rajaonarivelo

Tabataba is a film debut; not only for forty-year-old director Raymond Rajaonarivelo, but for his country, Madagascar. In his first feature film, Rajaonarivelo deals with the 1947 Insurrection against the French and subsequent struggle for independence, which was finally granted in 1960, by which time 100,000 people had been killed. 'A portrait of a village getting ready for ... well, they're not quiet sure,' writes Don Ranvaud. 'With wooden sticks for rifles and the funny walks of the soldiers, the villagers are gradually exposed to the consciousness of liberation and the deep logic of colonialism ... In a wholly original and captivating manner this chronicle of a cock-up foretold manages to spin an unusual tale with a didactic purpose rendered mote effective by understatement.'

Rajaonarivelo's intention was to make a testament to the dignity of people in defeat, 'What was important to me was the recollection of this physical and psychological destruction of a village society, Bold in the same way as the Madagascar legend about wind racing through the forest carrying poisoned pollen, which brings madness to the village through which it passes. Tabataba means the spreading of rumours ...'

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