In the poem “Nothing to be Said,” British poet Philip Larkin writes, “For nations vague as weed, for nomads among stones, small-statured cross-faced tribes and cobble-close families, in mill-towns on dark mornings, life is slow dying.” For many traditionally nomadic cultures, however, the opposite would be true. Millennia marked by movement are quickly being replaced with a forced and often uneasy stationary lifestyle. Spanish filmmaker Raul de la Fuente travels to some of the last bastions of transience in the documentary, Nomadak TX. He confronts the extinction of a lifestyle armed only with a camera and a little-played Basque instrument, the txalaparta.
This ancient instrument, made of wooden boards and resembling a xylophone, requires two players. From the deserts of Morocco to the lushness of India to the frozen tundra of Lapland to the grassy steppes of Mongolia, the filmmaker offers the txalaparta as a conduit for communication that transcends culture, geography, and language.
In our modern day versions of nomadism, in which we solitarily criss-cross the globe untethered by territory and emboldened by technology, the concept of shared creation from materials as simple as wood, sticks, and even ice is a welcome reminder that if we hold a way of life to be dear, then we can slow down the dying process and perhaps even offer it a proper resurrection. Nomadak TX is playing along with On the Road at QFT at 9:00 PM.
Also on Monday…
My Country, My Country is the story of a Sunni Muslim doctor and political candidate in Iraq. The director and cinematographer, Laura Poitras, met the protagonist, Dr. Riyadh, while he was conducting an inspection of Abu Ghraib. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and described by The Village Voice as “indispensable, heartbreaking, and ferociously wise,” don’t miss My Country, My Country at QFT at 7:00 PM.
If you’d only watch Seven Samurai at the cinema because Kurosawa is too sacred to be shown on the small screen or if you salivate at the thought of a new addition to the Criterion Collection, why waste your time watching movies on Monday when you could show off your knowledge of cinematic minutiae at The John Hewitt? Scurry on over to the BFF Film Quiz at 8:00 PM to strut your cinematic stuff.
(Image above from Nomadak TX)