Directed by Susan Vogel • Documentary • 2007 • 58 minutes
Through the story of a mason in Djenne, Komusa Tenapo, and his family, this documentary examines an African tradition of mud architecture in Mali. The environmental genius of these ancient construction techniques thick walls with tiny windows that keep the interiors cool despite the stifling heat is expressed in strikingly beautiful designs that have won the town of Djenne designation as a World Heritage site.
FUTURE OF MUD reveals Komusa's hand building methods, utilizing sun-dried bricks made of mud from the flood plain which contains decayed fish, and cattle manure that are mixed with organic materials such as straw and rice chaff. The film shows him at work on two building sites, and at the annual repair of the Great Mosque, employing thousand-year-old construction techniques, plus the secret knowledge he inherited from his family of masons, including religious rituals to protect homes and workers from evil spirits.
"A very believable, instructive and compelling narrative… One gets a true sense of craft combined with a love for the creative and integrative possibilities of earth."—TreeHugger.com