Series: Über den Inseln Afrikas



A film by Thomas Wartmann
© 2011 / 43 min (German+French) and 52 min (English) / HD / 16:9 / Stereo

Renaud Van Der Meeren is a photographer and paramotor pilot. With his motorised parachute he goes on expeditions to the remotest corners on earth to photograph people and landscapes from the air. Renaud wanted to be a jet pilot, studied music at the Sorbonne, became a ski instructor, model and photographer's assistant before he found happiness in his current vocation. He especially likes to do his job in Mauritius – nowhere else does he find so many motifs as on the "sweetest pearl in the Indian Ocean". This time he's working on a photo book about Mauritius – by land, by water and in the air.

Renaud's photo expedition takes him skimming over sugarcane fields, to dream weddings in luxury hotels and even on a dive to a sunken ship. He also visits the oldest corner shop in the capital Port Louis, and meets Michel Legris, the island's most renowned singer and a descendent of slaves.

Renaud's life of adventure gains a new chapter with kitesurfing world champion Nico Kux: to get his spectacular shots, Renaud has to battle strong winds as well as the constant threat of getting his parachute tangled up in Nico's kite.

His next motif, by contrast, is the picture of placidity: Sidah is the oldest fisherwoman on the island, perhaps in the world. Renaud spots her in her pirogue from the air. "The big advantage of paramoters", he says, "is that you fly low and slowly and can communicate directly with people. The people think, 'Who is this guy flying around up there?'" Sidah pours out her heart to him, revealing that it was love that made her a fisherwoman.

Renaud, aesthete and adventurer, is blessed with good luck throughout his journey. Even in a spectacular crash with his paramotor, he emerges with only a broken little toe and is back in the air just days later.

In the end he has thousands of new photographs in the bag – and the certainty that he will return again and again to the sweetest pearl in the Indian Ocean. Director Thomas Wartmann and his team accompany him along the way.



Written and directed by Thomas Wartmann
Camera: Alexander Hein
Editing: Verena Schönauer
Title graphics: Stefan Matlik
Sound: Philipp Podlich
Sound mix: Tomas Bastian
Music: Nils Kacirek
Location manager: Veronika Zaplata-Lauratet und Gopalen Chellapermal
Junior Producer: Carolin Neubauer
Line producer: Markus Breimaier
Producer: Thomas Wartmann
Commissioning editor: Ulrike Becker, SWR

A coproduction of Filmquadrat.dok GmbH & Südwestrundfunk
in collaboration with ARTE.

Supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.


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