Life is no cakewalk for the star of this film: an Arabian camel. He spends hours walking in circles in a dark and stifling sesame mill. When at last he has a break and gets the chance to rest his neck, goats and chickens walk over his fatigued body—they’re playful, but no less irritating for that. What can he do but dream of a different kind of life?
Director Ibrahim Shaddad graduated in 1964 from the film academy in Potsdam, Germany. Artistic freedom in his homeland of Sudan was limited by the dictatorship, which meant film culture was almost non-existent. He became one of the founders of the Sudanese Film Group, which used activism and humor to inject new life into cinema in his country.
As viewer, you can choose to draw a parallel between the emotional life of the captive camel, dreaming of freedom, and that of the filmmakers who are trapped by censorship. Shaddad’s interplay of light and sound makes the suffering of this majestic animal all the more palpable, while also allowing for moments of humor.