Speaking Tree

India/France 2007, Documentary, 70' | Director, Screenplay Natasha de Betak | DoP Emmanuel Bovet | Editor Nathalie Hubert, Gordana Othnin-Girard | Sound Harikumar Madhavan Nair, Rémy Steingel | Music Cyril Morin | Producer Camille Rousselet

Rabari means outsider. Deva is a shepherd and belongs to the Rabari tribe whose members live throughout Gujarat and South Rajasthan, a land seen as unfit for human habitation. One day - after spending six months in the desert - the solitude, the sight of a disembowelled goat, the painful sensation of too much heat, too much cold, too much noise, too much silence ... all drive him crazy.

Deva has fits and turns violent. Sometime he attacks and bites the people of the village. Thus Deva's mother ties him to the only tree in the village - for ten whole years. He seems destined to spend his life in this predicament until, one day, a massive earthquake devastates the region. The disaster kills thousands and makes millions homeless ... but Deva finds his sanity again.
However, the sane Deva is now too weak for the world of humans: he cannot cope with real life. He stands at the crossroads ? of a world of sane people, of a world of the insane.

Natasha De Betak followed Deva and his exceptional story with great commitment over five years of filming.


After stints at the University of Drama, Film and Television, Budapest and at New York University, NATASHA DE BETAK began working as a production assistant and assistant director and making her own short and experimental films. Her film KAAL won the Best Short Fiction Award at the Tampere International Film Festival as well as many other international prizes. The Sundance Institute chose KAAL as one of the Ten Best Short Films of the Year 1996. Her documentary Vaudeville du diable received much critical acclaim and was telecast on France 3. Actively involved in photography, Natasha De Betak is currently putting together her first photographic exhibition and a book. She also designed the costumes for Pan Nalin's Samsara andValley of Flowers. Speaking Tree is her first feature-length film.

Natasha de Betak
India, France