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Future of Mud

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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.

Komousa, family members and Madame Diallo, a Cultural Heritage official, present information on the history of Malian architecture. The film also shows the annual replastering of Dejenne's Great Mosque, the largest mud brick building in the world, a day-long, boisterous community effort, and a major public celebration observed by local residents and tourists.