Emma Townley, Marketing Manager at Harbour Lights in Southampton, reviews this week’s Discover Tuesdays presentation of MY NAME IS SALT.
Much like previous documentaries focusing on food production, such as OUR DAILY BREAD and LEVIATHAN, MY NAME IS SALT reveals the hard work a small Indian family put into harvesting some of the purest high-quality salt crystals from the mud of the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
Winner of the IDFA prize for best first feature, Farida Pacha writes and directs this mesmerising and captivating film, which seamlessly documents the family’s toil through long and slow shots highlighting the beauty of their surroundings.
The establishing shot displays a quote from Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus which aptly sets the scene for this story: “The struggle towards heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” Sisyphus rolled a boulder uphill every day, only for it to roll down again at dusk; Sanabhai, our protagonist in MY NAME IS SALT, grafts hard for eight months, extracting salt from the muddy earth in the face of many obstacles.
Pacha documents this story with truth and honesty, with the help of cinematographer Lutz Konermann, editor Katharina Fiedler and composer Marcel Vaid. A film like this could easily have become an ‘advert’ for poverty and capitalist exploitation, but that was not what the film crew saw or set out to show.
Konermann’s shots are near perfection, enabling us to feel as if we are there, experiencing the heat and the mud under our feet. From start to finish it is clear why Farida Pacha and the Leafbird Films team have won numerous awards for MY NAME IS SALT.