Jump directly to the page contents

Download catalogue (PDF)

On March 31, 2011, the tiny island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean became the 101st département of France, and therefore officially a part of Europe. Since that day the EU has had a new external border, running between Mayotte and Anjouan, the neighboring island, which belongs to the Union of the Comoros Islands. Both islands were long part of the French colonial empire. During the African liberation period in the 1970s, when many former colonies were fighting their way to independence, a referendum was held on the two islands. Anjouan voted for independence. Mayotte decided to stay with the ‘motherland.’
Mayotte is Europe under construction. The process of integrating the former colony into the French state is still in full swing. On Anjouan, the remainders of colonialism have already long been covered up by the wildness of nature. The post-colonial power imbalances, however, can still be sensed everywhere. The inhabitants of both islands share a linguistic and cultural identity and are intertwined with each other in complex relations of affinity. In the meantime, the border has become carefully guarded and the inhabitants of Anjouan need a visa to stay on Mayotte. Many Anjouanais therefore try to reach the neighboring island secretly, in nightly crossings on small motorboats called kwassas. A TALE OF TWO ISLANDS surveys the realities of life on the two islands in carefully composed tableaux on two opposing screens. Documentary encounters unfold in long shots in the ports of the capitals on both islands.

This project was funded by the Research Unit Media Convergence and the Center for Intercultural Studies at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, in co-production with the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb).

Steffen Köhn, born 1980 in Kirchheimbolanden, has been a directorial student at the German Film and Television Academy (dffb) since 2006 and is doing doctoral studies in the field of ethnology on the politics of images of migration.

Paola Calvo, born 1981 in Caracas, studied media at the Universidad Complutense Madrid and has been studying cinematography at the German Film and Television Academy (dffb) since 2006.

two-channel-video installation
Screenplay, editor: Steffen Köhn, Paola Calvo
Camera: Paola Calvo
Producer: Steffen Köhn
Line producer: Myriam Eichler
Translator: Halidi Yahaya Soidikh
Sound design: Daniel Engel
Dialogue-editor: Takis Christos Sariannidis
Sound re-recording mixer: Alexandre Leser
Subtitles: Anne-Marie Reynaud
Format: HD, colour
Running time: 16 minutes

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur