Directed by Janos Richter • Documentary • 2010 • 27 minutes
Guanape Sur. A barren rock island off the coast of Peru. No soil, no water. Nothing is growing here.
Around its shores a restricted area has been established. The island serves hundreds of thousands of sea birds as a breeding ground.
One of its peculiarities is that for a period of ten years only two men may live on it, in the eleventh year though, hundreds of men simultaneously pounce on its slopes in order to recover the bird's bequests: dried excrement, an acrid mixture of nitrogen and phosphor compounds, potassium oxide and quicklime, which blunts one's sense of smell. It can be used as a fertilizer or for producing dynamite. Its name is one of the few words the world borrowed from the language of the Incas: guano.
A war has been fought over guano. And even during peacetime, harvesting it from the sharp rock is a brutal fght. Everything on the island is done by hand.