The life of a family of fishermen, in the inland delta of the Niger river in Mali, is stricken by the effects of globalization: the rise of the price of oil and basic goods, the collapse of fish stocks and the signs of global warming.

The film reflects the passage of traditions, a relation to history and memory in a region where persist traces of the origins of things.

Filmmaker’s statement

Into the delta unfolds in two complementary movements, coming close to the life of a family of fishermen on the Niger River in Mali while apprehending the impact of expanding liberalism in the region.

Starting from the concerns fishermen and craftsmen have on a daily basis ultimately lends to the immaterial dimension of existence. Speech is the driving force of this documentary. With the wealth and beauty of metaphors of the bambara language, the film is transported into a poetic dimension.

Into the delta is also infused by silence: silence that is required to pay close attention to people’s gestures in their work; silence that reverence imposes in front of the photograph of a deceased father, silence needed to address a prayer to an ancestor, or silence commended by the spectacle of a frightening storm. And when one is done speaking, all that is left is silent meditation in face with an uncertain future.

By orchestrating speech and silence, observing hands at work, and experiencing the metamorphosis of the river, I wanted to bring to light the dreams of the people who inhabit the inland delta of the Niger River.

(SEE – French version)

Festivals and awards

Official competition, 51e Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italie – Best direction award

Official competition, 16e Visions du Réel, Nyon, Suisse

Official competition, 13e Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal

Official competition, 2e festival Filmer le travail, Poitiers, France

Official selection, 30e DOK.fest, Munich, Allemagne

European’s DVD edition, DOC NET FILMS, France


Documentary, 77 minutes, 2009

Production, direction, cinematography and sound recording / Sylvain L’Espérance

Editing / René Roberge

Sound editing / Francine Poirier

Assistant director / Becaye Traoré

Interpreters and interviews / Molia Haïdarra, Bourama Sidibé

Guides on the river / Molia Haïdarra, Mouta Maïga