December 4, 2022

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“Fragments of Heaven”, between faith and science

Presented out of competition in the 28th edition of Med Film FestivalAnd the Fragments of Heaven (2022) from Adnan Baraka It is a documentary that closely follows the visual and audio visions Werner Herzog, albeit in a less extreme manner; It is a work based on the dry and limitless Moroccan landscape and on the dualities already mentioned in the title.

Medfilm Festival 2022

Fragments of HeavenDocumentary synopsis

The Moroccan Sahara is famous for its frequent meteors hitting the Earth. Mohammed is a Bedouin shepherd who lives with his family in a tent in a remote area in the east. To improve the difficult living conditions of his loved ones, he decided to go in search of meteorites.

Abd al-Rahman also works in the same field, a scientist who relies on this wreck to continue his research on the origins of Earth and life. Neither of them imagined that this mission would lead them to discover that behind these things are hidden fragments of human complexity.

Fragments of HeavenShading in the desert

Vast and desolate landscapes. Places that look similar to those on the Moon, are dense with stones and almost absent of vegetation. The people who live there strive to survive and find what it takes to do long walks.

Harnessed to protect themselves from wind and dust, they search for precious metals, often mistaken for simple stones as fragments of minerals. They are almost astronauts who roam these lands in search of space clues to take to base.

Director Adnan Baraka He follows them, often depicting them from behind. But the shading is also revealed in connection with Abd al-Rahman’s research, who scrutinizes his insights into the motion of stars and meteorite fragments.

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A documentary that, ironically, carries in itself a sense of displacement, being a work that was produced in 2014. From that moment on, it has traveled to festivals and is still moving, over time it does not scratch its meaning.

Fragments of Heaven

Fragments of HeavenScientific and religious duality in the documentary film

The documentary focuses on two people: Muhammad, a shepherd and a family, and Abd al-Rahman, a miner and a scientist. Two opposite people associated with the search for minerals and meteorite cutting. They live off this quest, but in two different ways. For Muhammad, meteorites are the manna from heaven, which can give him an easy and high income, while for Abd al-Rahman they are precious things that can allow him to understand life.

On the one hand the perception of a miracle, on the other hand a scientific vision. The title actually combines these two concepts, because “fragments” is a very technical and logical term associated with matter, while Paradiso refers to religious beliefs, and is paired with divine benevolence.

The search is also done using different devices: Muhammad and the other shepherds look for the stones with their hands, touching them in the hope that they are the right ones. The scientist Abdul Rahman, on the other hand, is in the use of a technological metal detector, which already allows him to have an immediate response.

But we should not forget that Morocco, on which abundant fragments of meteorites fall, is one of the countries for which Islam is the main cult. The religion that among its traces is the Black Stone preserved in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), and it is believed to be a stone that God threw directly from heaven to earth, or a meteorite that fell from heaven to wash away human sins.

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But the duality also lies in the comparison between the particular and the breadth. The microscope for landscapes, where these humans are just small parts compared to the size of creation, and the microscope is the observations of the materials present, small parts that make up larger parts.

Fragments of Heaven