The Hillside Crowd

Berni Goldblat
Switzerland 2009 | 72 Min. | DigiBeta, OmeU

One day, I climbed Diosso Hill… After dig­ging, I came upon a big rock and I saw some gold. I called for help… On the sev­enth day, the hill had become a town.” This all takes place in Burk­i­na Faso. The voiceover that tells us about these early days is that of a griot and of an old prospec­tor. CEUX DE LA COLLINE is like an African West­ern, milling with gold dig­gers, dyna­miters, mer­chants, marabouts and pros­ti­tutes. “We are rebels,” shouts one of them, “Some­one puts you in this world, tells you what you should do, and you say no, you want to do what you like”. Among a maze of beams and yellow ochre soil a young man, hardly 20 years old, explains the rea­sons for his pres­ence there. Anoth­er explains the real addic­tion: “In a day you get lucky, but in a night the money is gone”. Each one explains his moti­va­tions, but the prin­ci­pal moti­va­tion remains the sur­round­ing pover­ty and the dream of a better future. Yet, in Diosso, noth­ing is easy: the “miners” are over­ex­ploit­ed by the “bosses”, the dyna­miters risk their lives at each explo­sion, the chemist dis­trib­utes pills by the hand­ful and the pros­ti­tute express­es her bit­ter­ness. From one day to the next every­thing dis­ap­pears to be rebuilt at anoth­er site… Berni Gold­blat com­pos­es a gallery of pic­turesque por­traits, the fore­most qual­i­ty of which is an extra­or­di­nary close­ness with the pro­tag­o­nists. (Visions du Réel Nyon 2009)