The Moral of the River


Push it down to your neighbor.

The Cikapundung river is one of the most polluted rivers in Indonesia. Every year, because of a deadly mosquito spreading Denge fever, a few die in huge and very crowded slums.
The river is filled with plastic and industrial wastes and no one seem to care about its safety. Not even the largest majority of locals who live on the river itself. 

Often the cleaning actions only mean that the locals move the plastic down the river to their neighbors.

P1310070 copy.jpg

The community and the legend.

I was asked by the local community to try to do something about it. I accepted right away as long as they would help and provide me anything I would ask.

My friends Maiva, Pierre, Lina and Fajar helped me record some interviews with the local community. We also asked about the ancient legend of the river, who very few knew about and, like often happens with oral tradition, varies every few kilometers.





Teaching the adults.

One of the first requests was to involve the kids of the community. We quickly improvised a theatre where each of the kids had a role: the water, the plastic monster, the family, the mosquito and the moral of the tale.

The play intersects the documentary, and the moral talks straight to the adults of the community.

P1310070 csopy.jpg

A comprehensive approach.

A highway passes above the slum and a small park with a gigantic tv, which screens only football games, news and ads, lies right next to the community.

One of the requests was to find a deal with the local government in order to allow a screening of the video on the big screen during an event which would gather the whole community. The idea is to empower the community, finally as big as actors and politicians, to take responsibility towards their own bad practices on the river.

The video would later be distributed over social media.


This is a clip shot for project which brought me there: VolunTube.