Torino Foto Festival – New Landscapes

Screenings: Grasshopper Republic



Cinema Massimo – Museo Nazionale del Cinema

Grasshopper Republic examines the strange, beautiful, and dangerous predicament of man versus nature. By examining the balance of survival between communities and ecosystems, questions arise about the corrupt tendencies of capitalism, environmental impact, and food source sustainability. The viewer must look inside themselves for reference and reflection. The equilibrium and cycle of nature drives the film’s narrative. The grasshoppers have synced their reproductive cycles to the vegetation brought by the rainy season and the phases of the moon (a running visual motif in the film) influence and guide the swarm’s migration.

On the opposite end, we see trappers brutally insert themselves into this natural environment.

Working around the clock, getting burned by the lights and infected by other poisonous insects, they mow down anything in their path to capture the expensive treat. This tireless, repetitive act often pushes those who dare to risk beyond their breaking point. Despite this ruthless dedication, succeeding in the grasshopper industry is beyond difficult. Police shakedowns, city official payoffs, and backdoor deals are commonplace, requiring an additional freestyle entrepreneurial zeal to navigate the corrupt waters of Uganda. The film follows one of Uganda’s top grasshopper trappers, Siraje Lubwama Ojuku and his intrepid team. Riding shotgun with our anti-hero Siraje, human nature is revealed as he plows full force into the chaotic industry. Among the worker ranks beneath him, it becomes obvious that little is considered and much is lost in the hunt for profit. Siraje expertly utilizes his team’s vulnerabilities to get what he needs, as they in turn thrash around, held hostage by their quest for survival.

The film was inspired by Michele Sibiloni’s book Nsenene.