Marshland People



Duration : 52 '
Support : Digital Betacam - stereo - 16/9 - 4/3 


Director : Luc Riolon
Production : Mona-Lisa, France 3



On the coast of Guiana, a small lake in the middle of the coastal marshland with a surface of 100,000 hectares. It is here that certain rare and strange creatures have chosen to live. From the smallest microscopic algae to the black caiman, not forgetting the prehistoric fish or the Agami heron, a magnificent bird that has rarely been observed. Each one has found its place and developed astonishing survival strategies. The key to their success: what the scientists call "positive feedback". In an environment where resources are poor and the conditions for co-existence less than favourable, the species cooperate in a paradoxical way. What would be against nature in another setting becomes necessary when there are shortages. In the long run, this cooperation contributes to the survival of each species and the overall equilibrium of the environment.


A story of hardship and sacrifice, of ingenuity and optimisation of resources.
It is the story of these beings and their secrets that we will tell.


How each creature cohabits with the others, what services it provides to the living community and what benefits it receives in return, strategies of alliance, calculated cooperation, altruism, instinct, evolutionist necessity. All these hypotheses are possible.
A great part remains unsolved of the mystery of this paradoxical process by which an environment that was theoretically unfavourable to the proliferation of life is now able to support such a great variety of species, each one of which flourishes, through physiological or behavioural adaptation.


An adventure which begins on the scale of the invisible world. Because, although to our eyes, marshland life is illustrated most readily by its biggest residents, they survive thanks to the work and the sacrifices of entire armies of Lilliputians who labour, live and die in the shadows.

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