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Jan locus
Masters of the Land
Vidéo expérimentale | 4k | couleur | 14'0'' | Belgique | 2020
Thanks to the rise of mining, post-communist Mongolia was the fastest growing economy in the world in 2012. However, the poor were not profiting from the booming industry, and climate change plus overgrazing were leading to vast desertification. According to Mongolian shamanistic belief, the earth and sky are connected. Violation of nature by men provokes the anger of the ruling spirits or the ‘masters of the land’ and leads to drought and pestilence. How does the population relate to its ancestors when desires threaten to upset the cosmic balance? The film opens with images shot in Baganuur and Nalaikh, once the largest coal mines in Mongolia. Fixed camera images of workers in the shadow of gigantic machines alternate with desolate landscapes and downtown Ulaanbaatar by day and by night. Intermediate texts cut the medium long shots. The first excerpt originates from the Hungarian poet Ferenc Juhasz. In 1957, under the influence of LSD, he experienced the painful initiation of a shaman. The second excerpt comes from a song by the shamaness Kyrgys Khurak. It deals with the evocation of lurking greed and inequality that might destroy nature – an aspect that implicitly refers to the climate crisis. (Ive Stevenheydens)
The long-term projects of photographer and filmmaker Jan Locus study the complexity of worldwide, socio-political issues. His books include Mongolia, De Bewegende Stad and Devoted. His films have been screened at IFFR Rotterdam (NL), DokFest Kassel (DE), Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (DE), Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (FR/DE), Asolo Art Film Festival (IT), Split International Festival of New Film (HR) and FIFA Montreal (CA) among others. He lives and works in Brussels.