Film ID:
YFA 5641

SEA STONES AND LAVA

c.1970

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film is a holiday travelogue exploring towns and countryside in Gibraltar and parts of northern Morocco, including Tangier, Tetouan and Chaouen. The filmmaker’s commentary offers anecdotes of his and his wife’s experiences of their first visit to Africa.

Title – Setting Toe in Africa

Title – Produced by J Eric Hall

On a map of Europe, a pointer traces down through France and Spain to Gibraltar.

Following a view of the Rock of Gibraltar, a man is seen sitting by a camel. Two boys look out from a balcony over houses and rooftops toward a beach. Rows of large anchors lie on the beach, and a procession of horses and donkeys goes past carrying goods.

In Tangier, people wearing both African and European clothing come and go.

A woman in a yellow sun dress inspects rows of cannons in the Mendoubia Gardens. The commentary notes that these recall a campaign from 1685, when British forces were besieged in Tangier by the Moroccan King Moulay Ismail. People, mostly Arab and Berber, pass along the road into Tangier, either by foot or on donkeys. The commentary notes that the camera is “still regarded as an evil eye by most people”, and one passer-by shields his face.

At a stables, donkeys are fed from baskets and have their hooves clipped. People sell fruit and vegetables along the pavement and at a market. Many people wear wide-brimmed straw hats and the traditional djellaba, a long, loose-fitting garment. An ornately decorated tower is seen rising above a narrow street.

Loaves of flat bread are sold in the street. At a blacksmiths, two men hammer a piece of metal while a small boy works the bellows.

A large array of earthenware pots and urns are for sale from a man who sits in a tent behind his wares. In a small shed with sandals hanging on the wall, a man makes shoes.

Men remove their shoes and enter the arched doorway of a mosque. A snake charmer gives a performance. In the street, a water-seller in a lavishly decorated outfit strung with bells and golden cups rings a bell. A man takes a drink from one of the cups.

The lighthouse at Cape Spartel is seen at the edge of a cliff, and below the ocean washes at the entrance to Caves of Hercules. The woman in the yellow sundress is given a camel ride. The town is seen from a distance as cars pass along a road, next to a sign pointing to Tetouan and Sebta.

In Tetouan, the streets are similarly busy. A scribe sits at work alongside his client. A pleasant square filled with trees, fountains and arches is full of people.

Outside the town, on the slopes of the Rif Mountains, a man sells large melons to the filmmaker. The woman gets out of the car and takes photos of the surrounding hilly landscape. A sign for the ancient holy city of Chaouen is seen.

Flat-roofed buildings are nestled into the foot of a large hill. People pass through narrow streets and alleys. In one, a man sits and makes sandals. Men sit together and drink mint tea. Various rugs and hangings are hung along the white wall of a shop selling various home wares.

The film ends with a hand indicating the town’s location on a map of North Africa.

Title – The End