Her given name is that of a Biblical saint; her surname comes from a French forebear. But the family history of filmmaker Natyvel Pontalier reaches much further back than that. In On the Zenith’s Edge she takes a dive into the culture of her Gabonese ancestors, which was forced aside by Christian colonists.
“Who were we before we were discovered?” This is just one of the questions Pontalier wonders about in her accompanying voiceover, as she recalls memories of her family over calm scenes of Gabonese jungles and villages drifting by. She talks of transcendental experiences in which her ancestors make contact to keep their traditions alive.
The musical and spiritual traditions of the Fang community feature heavily, proving that nothing has been lost with the passing of the centuries. While the outside culture imposed on them has left its mark, the unique and indestructible core has been preserved.