“Mahampy is the material of humans, Malagasy, from the time of the ancestors to the latest generation.” In Mahampy, material of life, reed-weaver Ravolasoa Jacqueline explains the significance of mahampy reeds in southeast Madagascar. The mats made from mahampy are a constant, not only across the generations, but throughout the lives of individuals. People are born onto mats, and the dead are wrapped in them. The film follows Jacqueline through the process of making a mat, from harvesting materials to weaving, finishing, and going to market, as she reflects on her craft. It celebrates the relationship between craftswoman and material.
[The film] clearly explores the deep connection between Mahampy woven mats and Ravolasoa and her community’s lives. It demonstrates her expertise with the material and, through her account, it explores themes of tradition and the shifts in technique and practice with foreign influence, modern materials and the influence of younger generations.
A highly effective document that delivers a complex and, at times quite affective, narrative, managing to cover a wide range of interlinked concerns within its short running time.