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2019You think the earth is a dead thing
Here's the stronger- than- man you were looking for.
2019125 hectares
on 18 June, I remember, 1983, it wasn’t General de Gaulle’s Appeal of 18 June, but our own.
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2019125 hectares
on 18 June, I remember, 1983, it wasn’t General de Gaulle’s Appeal of 18 June, but our own. It’s quite rare in Martinique to find 125 hectares that aren’t taken up by bananas.on 18 June, I remember, 1983, it wasn’t General de Gaulle’s Appeal of 18 June, but our own.

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video 16/9, sound, color, 33 min

One hundred and twenty-five hectares represents the amount of land occupied illicitly since 1983 by a collective of small farmers in Le Morne-Rouge in northern Martinique. As she harvests taro corms in her field, founding member Véronique Monjean retraces the collective’s history and their occupation of the land. In taking possession of what was, at the time, unoccupied property, the collective was seeking, above all, to counter the expansion of real-estate development, which threatened to reduce the area of arable land on the island. The collective favours subsistence agriculture and biodiversity through the rotation of local crops (tubers, root vegetables, etc.), which have the potential to provide for the island’s population in the event of a crisis or natural disaster. In this venture, the collective is resisting the single-crop industry of the island’s banana plantations introduced in the 1950s by mainland France. Intended for export, the banana industry, which accounts for 80% of all farmland in Martinique, has been responsible for contaminating vast tracts of the land on the island, as well as its rivers and the sea, with the insecticide chlordecone (Kepone). Currently banned as a carcinogen under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, chlordecone was used intensively to combat the banana weevil throughout the French West Indies from 1972 to 1993. Chlordecone’s
effects on the island’s ecosystem and the wellbeing of its inhabitants will be felt for generations to come. The efforts of the Le Morne-Rouge collective are all the more significant given that the land they occupy and cultivate remains uncontaminated.

Cinematography: Roland Edzard
Sound : Terence Meunier
Editing: Julien Loustau
Sound editing: Josefina Rodriguez
Sound mixing: Mathieu Farnarier
Production: Sister Productions
With the support of Jeu de Paume, de la Fondation nationale des arts graphiques et plastiques et du Centre national des arts plastiques


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