Cry of the Owl (Himba)

Cry of the Owl (Himba) Cry of the Owl (Himba)

In the north western corner of Namibia, near the Angolan boarder, one of the most godforsaken desolated regions of Africa, live the Himba. They are one of the last ethnic groups trying to maintain a traditional way of life. Winds of change, progress and modernism coupled with the real menace of AIDS, threaten to annihilate the ways of the Himba. The filmmakers get the rare opportunity of an intimate and personal look into the day-to-day lives of one family. The Himba opened their hearts and huts, sharing their feelings, thoughts, desires and fears.

The storytelling takes us through the four seasons of the year. The film meets the family at difficult times: Big Mama is diagnosed with TB and fighting for her life. She is hospitalized in the nearest town, hundreds of kilometers away from the village. The clan finds it hard to cope in the absence of Big Mama. To make matters worse, they must also survive a mysterious cattle disease killing their herd at an alarming rate. Cry of the Owl follows three generations of strong Himba women as they raise their children and cope with the immense difficulties of survival. As we observe these bare-breasted women, bedaubed with red ochre color paste, dressed with short leather skirts and adorned with abundance of jewelry, we can't but compare – they seem so different from everything that we know… But is this really so?

This film, shot 12 years ago, is an astonishing intimate portrait never seen before of the Himba people. A must see for Africa studies, Women studies Social and anthropological studies.

Festivals and Awards

Hotdocs, Toronto, Canada
Doc Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
African Studies Association
Winner of Special Jury award, Jules Verne Aventure Film Festival, Paris, France

"...Its uniqueness lies in the intimate familiarity that it presents in connection with a way of life, in the quietness of local residents, their slow pace and their openness." -- Haraetz news paper.

Dori Caspi, a Photographer, the co-creator of the film, is following this family in the last 15 years. He initiated this project and he is still visiting the family often. View Gallery

"Cry of The Owl" is a very intimate film. It is not about the Himba. It is with the Himba. I clearly knew that in order to be able to keep my intimacy with the Himba people, and produce a product which does not characterized by anthropological distance, but by personal proximity, I would not shoot this film with a crew. It had to be only Erez and myself. Him, with professional know-how and a camera, and me, with my connection to the people and knowledge of their ways. It was clear to me that Erez, with his delicate and tender personality, would be accepted by the Himba, and so it was. In order to successfully deal, only the two of us, with technical issues in such a desolated and remote, sometimes hostile, area, we had to improvise all the time. Shooting the film, during few trips along a period of eighteen months, was an adventure worth a movie itself. --Dori Caspi

Cry of the Owl (Himba)

About the Film

71 minutes
Herraro, English Subtitles

Director: Erez Laufer
Film Creators: Dori Caspi, Erez Laufer
Editors: Miri Laufer, Erez Laufer
Original Music: Dani Richental
Producers: Dori Caspi, Erez Laufer

Photos credits: Dori Caspi

Cry of the Owl (Himba) Cry of the Owl (Himba)



To place an order, please contact Nahum Laufer.

Fax: 972-3-5291726
Mail: Shlomo Hamelech 93 #5, Tel-Aviv 6451228



$150 DVD for library & classroom use

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$300 for first screenings with paying audiences.

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