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Tea or Electricity

Documentary Film
90 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Christian Martin
Jérome Colin, Jérôme le Maire
Matyas Veress
Jérôme le Maire
Jean-Luc Fichefet, Jérôme le Maire
While others are thinking about alternative energy concepts, this remote Moroccan Atlas mountain range has no electricity at all. The life of the clan is ruled by hard work, bitter poverty and a deadly cough. They only get news from the world outside and food supplies when the narrow path to the village is negotiable. There is no street, let alone a school. One day two employees of an energy company turn up and promise to build a power line that will change the villagers’ lives...
Jerôme le Maire follows this adventurous and arduous undertaking over three years: how all the men in the village must pitch in to heave the heavy compressor up the mountain, how the parts are delivered by donkey and the villagers must first apply for identity cards in town before the switches up the mountain can finally be turned on. Because he looks closely, this tragicomic tale gains most of its depth from the conflicts set in motion by the advent of the modern age in the village community. While some illuminate their premises as bright as daylight, others have barely enough for a dim bulb to light their hut.
The first moving images that arrive on the dusty village square via the new television set – a nod to film history – finally serve as messages from a radiant consumer world. One gets an idea where the path out of the Middle Ages is going to lead straightaway.
– Grit Lemke