People of the Wind (1976)

A sensitive and staggeringly intimate insight into a community who don’t dabble with the great outdoors. They live in it.

lo-res People of the Wind

Way back in 2012 the epic film Grass drew unanimous praise from the ATFF community. Its stupefying tale of thousands of humans and livestock on the march across snow-capped Iranian mountains is the stuff of legend. This journey has been reasonably described by the Daily Telegraph in London as ‘the most hazardous test of human endurance still undertaken year after year by an entire people.

In 1976, award-winning doco superstar, Anthony Howarth, re-visited the region and the Bakhtiari people with his trusty 16mm camera. He found the nomadic way of life substantially unchanged, and to the attendees of this festival, refreshingly simple, pure and geared to the outdoors. It cannot be stressed enough how staggeringly good Howarth’s access to these people became. This is people watching at its best, but achieved not with discrete Go-Pros and micro-cams but a giant great Bolex! It’s worth seeing just to marvel at how intimate a portrait it is and to listen to James Mason’s velvety commentary. Instead of the colossal King Kong-esque epic insanity of Grass this film concentrates on just one family’s move. Verily, this sees the migration’s achievements through a prism of human scale, and we say unto extreme adventurers, fear ye not, it is still very, very hard.

Colour 16mm          100 minutes