SUMMARY: A record of the director’s trip to Madagascar
WHY IT’S HERE: Bastien Dubois’s journal of his trip to the titular island, ‘Madagascar, a Journey Diary’ is a plotless wander around Madagascar. The film achieves unbelievable immersion as Dubois drinks in the scenery, chats to the locals and remembers it all in extraordinarily beautiful artwork. The island is presented as literally being encased in Dubois’s journal, with pages turning onto new locales. The island is in the process of Famadihana, an ancient Malagasy custom that means “the turning of the dead”. An occasion for festivities, it is also a solemn ritual which involves the movement of ancestors remains to their final resting places. Dubois witnesses the customs without comment, presenting them to the viewer to do the same. Watching ‘Madagascar, a Journey Diary’ is truly a transporting experience and has an effect on me that live-action travelogues rarely do. Dubois captures the sights and sounds of the island and filters it through a point-of-view approach which places the viewer amongst the surroundings and imbues them with the director’s own experiences. Although I have never visited Madagascar myself, I go there every time I watch this film.