a documentary film by Britta Wandaogo

German title: Die Krokodile der Familie Wandaogo
D 2003 | 61’ | DV | colour | German or English subtitles

German Short Film Prize [Special Format 30-60 min.]
Nominated for the German Camera Award in the category edditing |
1st Prize - Borderlands International Film Festival, Bozen 2003

Excerpt from the jury’s statement :

With personal experiences in an European-African marriage, this documentary feature tells the
story of the clash of different cultures. German director Britta Wandaogo and her husband Salif from
Burkina Faso fearlessly confront the lens of an always present yet never obtrusive camera, even in the
most delicate and intimate moments of their relationship. Their daughter, Kaddi, moves astonishingly
effortlessly between the two mentalities, treating the camera with the same casualness she treats the

supported by Filmbüro NW, Hessische Filmförderung und Kuratorium junger deutscher Film

Director’s notes

The Wandaogos were once a royal family in Burkina Faso and their crocodiles were seen as the family's protectors and bringers of good fortune. Life changed, but the crocodiles remained. For the "elders" at crocodile lake, the sacrificial ceremonies are a part of life and appreciation of the crocodiles. "The crocodiles are our great, great grandfathers..." Like each year since the birth of our daughter Kaddi we travel to the family court. And for a few weeks we are part of the whole family. The former royal family follows life-determining responsibilities. Daily survival means to succeed again each day. For our small family ideal, the meeting of strangers and those intimate to us means a new challenge on each journey. Complications and obstacles are preprogrammed. My husband Salif tries to correspond to his obligations in the family as the eldest son. As differing as his memories of the family legend are, as persistently
he tries to live up the traditions. Not only does my husband, torn back and forth between German and Burkina families, change completely. Our daughter becomes more complicated, family life functions on another frequency. In the vortex of oneself, pulled back and forth. Exaggerated actions strain tolerance. One thing is sure, when you step on West African soil, everything comes differently than expected.

„If you wish to get close to a person, you also get closer to yourself." Just like this, a person in front of a camera can only show so much of himself as you allow with your own presence. In our European world, seeing means recognition and understanding automatically passes for knowledge. In Africa, this is a mistake. When a European speaks about what he sees, an African speaks about that which he does not see. With each journey I get closer to the interconnection of every-day life and myth. The meaning of life and spirit without a safety net. "A person alone cannot see far", says the village.

Britta Wandaogo cologne, nov. 2003

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