Short Film Profile

Les Enfants de Raminia

Around the thirteenth century, the prince Raminia reclaimed his freedom against Mohammed’s new laws. He took his family on a long and perilous journey to the eastern coast of Madagascar, at the mouth of the Mananjary river.

On this sacred land, the Antambahoaka tribe gather once every seven years to celebrate the Sambatra: a one month ritual staging the history of their ancestors.
During this trip, the children will become real Antambahoaka. Especially boys during the great ceremony of collective circumcision.

Families are crowding from the entire island, even from abroad. Each clan gathers around a royal house that symbolizes the Raminia boat. The sacred manuscript recalls the ancestral unfolding of the Sambatra and Raminia fights against their assailants.

Blessing the community, the songs of women enthuse the crowds. Each tackle the construction of the ship: Weaving mats for the new deck, bringing the robust trees to be used as a bows.

Soon the streets are covered with a tide tinted in red, the colour of ancestors and kings. On the Mananjary beach, the huge crowd of Raminia ancestors surges. A long walk, like in the first exodus, joined sacred waters of the river mouth.

Over the Sambatra, children will understand the meaning of it all. This word originates from the Hebrew "Sabbath” meaning "Happy". As long as the Antambahoaka identity lives.

Film notes

Why does Madagascar exercise such a great magnetism on travellers? Métis culture and natural treasures explain one part of it, but rare today are the regions of the world where emanates, at this point, the certainty to find adventure.

The Antambahoaka, by the example of their ritual, shed light on this mystery of Madagascar: The adventurer over there, is not the passenger but the inhabitant of the island. History, traditions, and the harshness of daily life have taught men to live like tightrope walkers, used to risk and death, to who boldness is celebrate as a victory.

This celebration is also a matter of freedom and beliefs. Biblical and Arab influences of the first Antambahaoka were intermingled with the cult of ancestors to create a unique liturgy, able to question the major religions.

This film is a portrait of those artists of life, a tribute to their balance. It is a festival and it is an adventure, perhaps even a life lesson.



Copyright © 2010 Actes&Avril Productions

Previous screenings

16 Mar – 26 Mar | Cape Town & Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 30 Oct 2010