52′ | 80′
Pieter van Huystee Film & TV
A documentary about passionate translators of the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who fight for the preservation of their endangered languages. Next to the Bible, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the world. It has been translated in over 300 languages. Why do people from very diverse cultures precisely choose this book to keep their languages and cultures alive?
MORE ABOUT FILM
Next to the Bible, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the world. It has versions in over 30 different languages. Why do people from very diverse cultures choose precisely this book to keep their languages and cultures alive?
From the night sky, where the little prince smiles at us on his star and where aviator and writer of the book Antoine de Saint-Exupéry felt most at home, this film lands in the desert. And, just like the little prince, this film travels from that desert around the world to meet a number of posthumous friends of the little prince on the way. People who make the inseparable connection between language, culture and landscape tangible.
In the desert, among the sand and stars, live writer Lahbib Fouad and his friend, the poet Omar Taous. For over 30 years they’ve been fighting for Tamazight, the second language of Morocco, but that’s barely written or read. The fact that the little prince talks with animals is commonplace in their culture.
In the land of the Sami, at the border of Norway and Finland, we meet Kerttu Vuolab. When she was young, she was bullied at boarding school because of her language and culture. After the tragic death of her younger sister, who drowned in the river near her home, she was even lonelier than before and she found comfort in The Little Prince. While attending university, she decided to translate the book into Sami.
One of the translations is by Tashi Kyi and Noyontsang Lamokyab. Both of them live as exiles in Paris, cut off from their family, their landscape, culture and language.
In El Salvador Jorge Lemus is venturing on a translation next year into Nahuat, also called Pipil, an indigenous Aztec language. Today, it’s spoken by only about 300 people after the Pipil natives were massacred on a large scale in 1932.
But no translator identifies as much with the book and its writer as Urwothun Lepani, who translated it into his native language Alur. Like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, he’s an aviator. When he’s high up in the air, his thoughts often stray back to his birthplace Jupayamo in Congo- Kinshasa. The small airport where he spent his time as a boy, his small school, the entire landscape of his childhood are all obliterated by war.
Through the air we connect these languages and cultures. With the words of the little prince we stretch a line across the world in which the notions of comfort and hope, that are so beautifully interlaced in The Little Prince, find their echo in the struggle of the translators and their friends. No matter how much their cultures differ, what connects them is that they are able to convince us that it is essential for people to be allowed to think, dream and speak in their native language.
MORE ABOUT DIRECTOR – Marjoleine Boonstra
Marjoleine Boonstra is a Dutch film director and photographer with over 25 years of experience. Her documentaries always circle around the theme: what keeps mankind alive. In 2015 her first feature film KURAI KURAI, tales on the wind premiered. She combines a poetic visual approach with a compassionate view on the world, which make her documentaries striking and touching.
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