A Tale of Two Islands
9 February 2016


France Comoro Islands Germany / 2012 / Video Art Documentary / Loop 16 min. / Color / Shooting Format HD / Screening Format HD

Director Steffen Köhn I Paola Calvo
Cinematographer Paola Calvo
Editor Steffen Köhn I Paola Calvo
Producer Steffen Köhn I dffb
Line Producer Miriam Eichler
Sound Designer Daniel Engel
Dialogue Editor Takis Christos Sariannidis
Subtitles Anne-Marie Reynaud

Festivals and Awards

62. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin Forum Expanded
12. goEast Film Festival

On March 31st 2011 the small island Mayotte in the Indian Ocean officially received the status as the 101st department of France. Since that day, a new external frontier of the European Union separates Mayotte from Anjouan, its African sister-island belonging to the Union of the Comoros. Both Islands were for a long time part of the French colonial empire. In the wake of the African decolonization movement of the 1970s, referendums were organized on both islands. While Anjouan declared its independence, the overwhelming majority in Mayotte voted for remaining a part of France. Since then, Mayotte profits from French investments into its infrastructure, education and health system, while Anjouan looks back onto a history full of coups d’états, political turmoil and economic depression. Many Anjouanais thus try to clandestinely reach their neighbour-island in nighttime crossings with small motorboats, so called Kwassas.

The 2-channel-videoinstallation “A Tale of Two Islands” describes the postcolonial spaces that originate from this complex political situation. Documentary encounters filmed in the ports of the capitals of both islands unfold in precisely composed tableaux.