A gorgeously filmed ethnographic portrait of an elderly Kenyan shark fisherman who has a primeval bond with the ocean and its creatures, Wavumba: They Who Smell of Fish delivers an enchanting depiction of Africa's storytelling tradition, where fantasy, dreams, belief and reality blend.
Dutch, Kenyan-raised filmmaker re-immerses himself in the magical stories of his Kenyan childhood. He decides to follow Masoud- known for catching giant sharks with his bare hands- as the legendary fisherman embarks on his last quest. Together with Masoud and his apprentice, director Jeroen van Velzen embarks to sea, rowing for hours.
Together with ritual stories and tales of sea spirits told by villagers and shamans, and gorgeous photography, Wavumba is an intimate, gentle, and respectful account that brings centuries-old traditions to life.
Directed by Jeroen van Velzen
2012 // Netherlands // 80 min
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"Evocative sound design and interludes of Kenyan storytellers intoning myths about sea-dwelling spirits and hidden worlds wrap the film in a fantastical, impressionistic gauze."
- Jeremy Egner, The New York Times
"Stunning lensing and a deep respect for the stories of coastal Kenyans leave auds pleasantly ruminating on a world touched by magic long after the final credits roll."