An Afternoon on the Pasture with the Shepherd – video

A film about the deep ecological knowledge of a shepherd - László Sáfián


Watch a wonderful experimental film about the traditional ecological knowledge heders possess about pastures, ecology, behaviour, livestock, dogs, bells etc.

In this film a herder, László Sáfián, speaks about his pasture, livestock and dog, and the inextricable links between them; how he portions out the pasture and designs daily and weekly “menus”, how and why he uses iron and copper bells, how the family works together, and how he learnt and transmits this knowledge.

László Sáfián was born into a multi-generational herder family in Hungary. In this film he explains what he means by close-herded grazing on a high nature-value, semi-natural pasture, lying in a nature protected area.

With this film we are experimenting with ways of presenting the traditional ecological knowledge of herders in its original setting and with its original pace, using slow films and detailed herder-scientist dialogues, discussing the fine-tuned decisions the herder makes during this one afternoon, and also providing some socio-ecological context.

The film was made by Zsolt Molnár (ethnoecologist, ELKH Center for Ecological Research, Hungary) and Sándor Karácsony (cameraman and filmmaker). Their aim with the film, An Afternoon on the Pasture with the Shepherd László Sáfián, is not simply to show the traditional knowledge of a Hungarian herder but to motivate others to make similar narrated slow films in other socio-ecological settings, so as to help the global-scale knowledge exchange of herders and pastoralists among themselves and with ecologists, rangeland, livestock and behavioural scientists, conservationists, teachers, decision makers and the wider public.

You can also listen to the original Hungarian version of the film to get a feeling of how the shepherd speaks in his native language:

Or watch a recent podcast made with the herder by Sándor Friderikusz, a well-known talk show host in Hungary (in Hungarian with English subtitles):

Check out as well a media article:

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