Movie

My Name is Salt

Available in the Online Cinema Trailer Order DVD
Movie

My Name is Salt

Year after year, for an endless eight months, thousands of families move to a desert in India to extract salt from the burning earth. Every monsoon their salt fields are washed away, as the desert turns into sea. And still they return, striving to make the whitest salt in the world.

The desert extends endlessly – flat, grey, relentless. There is not a tree or blade of grass or rock. But there is one thing in abundance: salt. Salt is everywhere, lying just beneath the cracked, baked surface of the earth. This is the Little Rann of Kutch, 5000 sq kms of saline desert. And for eight months of the year, the salt people live here – laboriously extracting salt from this desolate landscape. They have been doing this for generations.

Year after year, they migrate from their villages, 40,000 of them, to live on this bleak land without water, electricity or provisions. Arriving just after the monsoon, Sanabhai and his family will live here from September until April. Their nearest neighbour is a kilometre away. They communicate by flashing mirrors in the sunlight. Sanabhai’s wife Devuben walks across the bare, trackless desert to chop firewood. They buy the family’s water supply from a private tanker that comes once a week.

Sanabhai has taken a large loan from the salt merchant in town as an advance on his salt harvest. He needs money to dig a well to reach the saline water 70 feet below ground, and to buy the diesel for the pump which draws the brine into the salt pans. Over the next few months, the only sound to break the silence of the desert is the mechanical drone of the pump’s engine. It takes eight months for the brine to crystallise into salt. Knee-deep in the brine pond, under the blinding glare of the sun, Sanabhai and his family trample the ground to prevent the salt from congealing. Once the brine has evaporated enough to allow the salt to be handled, they gather it with heavy wooden rakes until large crystals have formed. Their labor is rhythmic, a dance that mirrors the dance of the mirages on the burning horizon. The white crystals are as sharp as glass. Only two of them have rubber boots. Several times in a day Sanabhai inspects the quality of the salt crystals and keeps a close watch on the level of water in the salt pans.

Two of Sanabhai’s children – a boy and a girl aged eleven and eight– go to a school recently opened by an NGO. Everyday at 11, after their morning’s work at the salt pans, they cycle off to school – just another hut in the vast emptiness of the desert, but with one difference: the children have planted paper flowers around it.

In April, the salt merchant sends his man to inspect the salt. No good, he says: the crystals are small, not white enough. He cuts the price agreed with Sanabhai at the beginning of the season. Sanabhai is downcast, but he shrugs his shoulders: what can you do? The next salt season will certainly be better.

Meanwhile, somewhere at the edge of the desert, mountains of salt lie next to the railway tracks waiting for transport to the city. The season is over and the monsoon is on its way: the heavy rains will soon wash the family’s salt fields away. The desert itself will not remain a desert anymore, but will turn into a sea. And the only way one can cross it is by boat.

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Credits

Original Title My Name is Salt
German Title Salz ist mein Name
French Title Mon nom est sel
Other Titles Il mio nome è sale
Directed by Farida Pacha
Country India
Available Formats DVD, Blu-ray, DCP
Screenplay Farida Pacha
Film Editing Katharina Fiedler
Soundtrack Marcel Vaid
Cinematography Lutz Konermann
Sound Sanjeev Gupta, Ramesh Birajdar
Production Leafbird Films, Lutz Konermann
Runtime 92 Min.
Language gujarati/d/f

Actors

Dokumentarfilm
Documentaire
Documentary
documentario

Awards

  • Winner IDFA Amsterdam First Appearance Competition 2013
  • Winner Hong Kong IFF Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner DocumentaMadrid Feature Length Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner Edinburgh IFF Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner German Camera Award 2014
  • Winner Pelicam Documentary Film Festival, Tulcea 2014
  • Winner Food Film Festival, Amsterdam 2014
  • Winner Small Gate of Freedom Award, Gdansk 2014
  • Winner CinemAmbiente Iren Award, Torino 2014
  • Special Jury Mention, Bled Film Festival 2014
  • Special AWFJ Jury Mention, Edinburgh IFF 2014
  • Special Jury Mention, DokuFest Prizren 2014
  • Nomination for Best Editing, German Camera Award 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) FIFE Paris 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Planete+Doc Festival, Warsaw 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) DOK.fest, Munich 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Encounters, Johannesburg 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Los Angeles Film Festival 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Indian Film Festival, Stuttgart 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Melbourne IFF 2014

Press

«Dieser fesselnde Dokumentarfilm verfolgt das Leben eines Salzbauers und seiner Familie während der harten Monate der Ernte. Man wird Zeuge eines stoischen Kampfes gegen eine magische, aber gegenüber den menschlichen Wünschen gleichgültige Natur: ein heroisches Unternehmen, das sich allmählich in eine religiöse Suche nach Vollkommenheit verwandelt.» Züritipp, Gianfranco Basile


«My Name is Salt ist ein Film-Dokument über etwas, was wir urbanen Kinder bald nur noch aus den Erzählungen der Grosseltern kennen: Handarbeit und Fussarbeit. Er zeigt, wie das Geschick des Einzelnen und das Zusammenwirken aller es möglich machen, durch Gewinnung eines Produktes Gewinn zu erzielen. Mit Arbeit. Und Köpfchen. Vor unseren Augen wird aus Wasser weisses Gold.» Tageswoche Basel, Hansjoerg Bettschart


«Eine meditative, grandios gefilmte Betrachtung der Arbeit als Akt des Glaubens.»
Sight & Sound, London


«Die mit ruhiger Kamera aufgenommenen Bilder sind von bestechender Klarheit, Einfachheit und Reinheit.» Cineman


«Die ergreifend schönen, aber eben nicht beschönigenden Bilder des deutschen Kameramanns Lutz Konermann machen alle Kommentare überflüssig. Wir sehen, wie Familien in einem in der Regenzeit zum Sumpf werdenden Gebiet das Salz aus dem Boden holen, wo tuckernde Dieselmotoren und vorzeitliche Hand- respektive Fußarbeit ineinander gehen und die Arbeit die Menschen ganz selbstverständlich restlos vereinnahmt.

(...) More

Credits

Original Title My Name is Salt
German Title Salz ist mein Name
French Title Mon nom est sel
Other Titles Il mio nome è sale
Directed by Farida Pacha
Country India
Available Formats DVD, Blu-ray, DCP
Screenplay Farida Pacha
Film Editing Katharina Fiedler
Soundtrack Marcel Vaid
Cinematography Lutz Konermann
Sound Sanjeev Gupta, Ramesh Birajdar
Production Leafbird Films, Lutz Konermann
Runtime 92 Min.
Language gujarati/d/f

Actors

Dokumentarfilm
Documentaire
Documentary
documentario

Awards

  • Winner IDFA Amsterdam First Appearance Competition 2013
  • Winner Hong Kong IFF Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner DocumentaMadrid Feature Length Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner Edinburgh IFF Documentary Competition 2014
  • Winner German Camera Award 2014
  • Winner Pelicam Documentary Film Festival, Tulcea 2014
  • Winner Food Film Festival, Amsterdam 2014
  • Winner Small Gate of Freedom Award, Gdansk 2014
  • Winner CinemAmbiente Iren Award, Torino 2014
  • Special Jury Mention, Bled Film Festival 2014
  • Special AWFJ Jury Mention, Edinburgh IFF 2014
  • Special Jury Mention, DokuFest Prizren 2014
  • Nomination for Best Editing, German Camera Award 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) FIFE Paris 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Planete+Doc Festival, Warsaw 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) DOK.fest, Munich 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Encounters, Johannesburg 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Los Angeles Film Festival 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Indian Film Festival, Stuttgart 2014
  • Official Selection (in competition) Melbourne IFF 2014

Press

«Dieser fesselnde Dokumentarfilm verfolgt das Leben eines Salzbauers und seiner Familie während der harten Monate der Ernte. Man wird Zeuge eines stoischen Kampfes gegen eine magische, aber gegenüber den menschlichen Wünschen gleichgültige Natur: ein heroisches Unternehmen, das sich allmählich in eine religiöse Suche nach Vollkommenheit verwandelt.» Züritipp, Gianfranco Basile


«My Name is Salt ist ein Film-Dokument über etwas, was wir urbanen Kinder bald nur noch aus den Erzählungen der Grosseltern kennen: Handarbeit und Fussarbeit. Er zeigt, wie das Geschick des Einzelnen und das Zusammenwirken aller es möglich machen, durch Gewinnung eines Produktes Gewinn zu erzielen. Mit Arbeit. Und Köpfchen. Vor unseren Augen wird aus Wasser weisses Gold.» Tageswoche Basel, Hansjoerg Bettschart


«Eine meditative, grandios gefilmte Betrachtung der Arbeit als Akt des Glaubens.»
Sight & Sound, London


«Die mit ruhiger Kamera aufgenommenen Bilder sind von bestechender Klarheit, Einfachheit und Reinheit.» Cineman


«Die ergreifend schönen, aber eben nicht beschönigenden Bilder des deutschen Kameramanns Lutz Konermann machen alle Kommentare überflüssig. Wir sehen, wie Familien in einem in der Regenzeit zum Sumpf werdenden Gebiet das Salz aus dem Boden holen, wo tuckernde Dieselmotoren und vorzeitliche Hand- respektive Fußarbeit ineinander gehen und die Arbeit die Menschen ganz selbstverständlich restlos vereinnahmt.

(...) More

Photo:
My Name is Salt