In the Hauts de Mayotte (The Comoro Islands), a secret space, of magic and escape, men and dogs, maintain filial almost intertwined relationships, companion species who share a common land of transformation and autonomy. Smogi has a particular relationship with dogs but also with the power of the elements, nature and the sly spirits that inhabit him (the djinns). "Djo" crosses different belief systems in a wild syncretism where the Muslim call to prayer also marks a moment of reunion with the animist and impure forces of the forest.
Through its omnipresent darkness, virtually the entire length of the film ‘Djo’ offers us an immersive delve into another world. A world in which animals and humans live in a state of communion, where a form of mysticism haloes each day-to-day act, each gesture, and where time is experienced and unfolds in a different manner. It is through Smogi, a young Comorian, that Laura Henno approaches this vague space. The story of this young man - tinted with his rapport with religious syncretism – highlights his identification with one of his dogs, Djo – "No one gives him orders, no one ties him up, like I do" – enhanced with the magic around their encounter (Djo had been found next to a large kapok, a tree believed to carry the spirits of our ancestors). The film’s formal choices and its elliptic nature act as an illustration of this mysterious, forever unfathomable and secret world.
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Born in 1976, Laura Henno studied photography at the La Cambre National School of Visual Arts in Brussels, before integrating Le Fresnoy - National Studio for Contemporary Arts in Tourcoing – where she first studied cinema. For several years, she has focused her photographic and filmmaking activity on the challenges of clandestine migration in the Comoro Islands, Reunion or in Calais. She confronts the plight of migrants and young traffickers, with a documentary ambition that reinvests genuine potential towards fiction and narrative. She has obtained several prizes for her work, which is exhibited in several museums and regularly selected by festivals in France and abroad. Her photographic work is represented at the Les Filles du Calvaire gallery in Paris.
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