On the tracks of the Rallye to Dakar
Paris, fall 2006: The worlds most famous rallye is presented to journalists and motor-sports pros at an exclusive event. Images like the ones shown there will later be watched by millions of people around the world: High-tech motorcycles, cars and trucks race across the desert and through towns and villages in five African countries, 7915 kilometers in just a few days, before a winner is chosen in Dakar.
These projections resemble a distorted afterimage in the film '7915 KM', which begins after the Rallye has already ended. The camera stands in the Moroccan desert, Kilometer 1009, according to the caption. Gently curving tire tracks extend into the distance. The cameras gaze concentrates on that distance for a while, unmoving, and everything is quiet except for the wind buffeting the microphone.
The route becomes a trail that the film follows slowly, discovering on the way what millions of fans, drunk with speed, are unable to see on their TV screens: the variety to be found in Africas present, which is recorded in portraits and encounters and juxtaposed with the racing conquerors. Over a period of four months in 2007 Nikolaus Geyrhalter and his crew shot '7915 KM,' which has more to say about stopping than moving forward, lingering, eyes and ears open and unhurried.
The camera encounters men, women and children who have stories about daily life, their work, happiness, worries and hopes, meeting them eye to eye, and they set the films pace: a girl in a small Moroccan village who presents her goat named Rally with a smile; Saharawi soldiers who have been guarding a stretch of desert for