Published on 9th August 2018 by

American Louis Sarno is a fully accepted member of the Bayaka pygmy people. After 25 years away from home, Sarno takes his son on a trip to New York City.

As a young man, Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that gripped his imagination. His quest to track down the source of the mysterious sounds took him all the way to the rainforest of the Central African Republic and the Bayaka people, a tribe of hunters and gatherers. He decided to stay. Louis had child with a Bayaka woman, the now 13-year-old pygmy boy Samedi. As a baby, Samedi became gravely ill and was close to death. Louis made his son a promise: “If you survive, one day I will show you the world from which I came.” Eventually the time came to fulfill that promise. Sarno took his 13-year-old son on a trip from the rainforest to New York City, where they would meet relatives and Louis’ old college friend Jim Jarmusch. The famous indie filmmaker’s works DEAD MAN (1995) and GHOST DOG (1999) were partly inspired by Sarno’s exceptional life journey. Soon after father and son arrived in New York City, they were surprised to discover that Samedi, who had never left the rainforest and did not speak a word of English, felt far more comfortable in the US than his father. The process of coming to terms with a world that Louis Sarno wanted to forget and that his son now wanted to explore was gradual, quiet and not without complications. Borne by the contrast between the rainforest and urban America, the two protagonists’ stories are interwoven to form a touching portrait of an extraordinary man and his son.

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