A day in the life of a herd of cows – on the border of Israel and Syria.
In a dry, barren landscape, a herd of cattle is grazing, accompanied by dogs, looked after by cowboys. Step by step the seemingly peaceful place starts to prove fallacious to the viewer –while the cows end their day as it begun.
This work by Swiss artist Jela Hasler, one of the big hits of the last Locarno Film Festival, is a metaphoric documentary of enormous pertinence. Exploring an apparently banal situation she manages to create several parallels with the repression and control that are so typical of the region. Normality lives encircled by barbwire and fences, on the horizon you see war tanks being driven to the front, and the authorities themselves step into action at the slightest sign of an attempt of breaking away from the artificial obstacles created by the state and occupation. Only this time around, the population is solemnly composed of innocent looking cows.
With great subtlety, Hasler has produced one of the most relevant documentary pieces on the Middle East.