Kala azar

Janis Rafa

IFFR 2020

Tiger Competition

  • 85'
  • Netherlands
  • 2020

A canary, a dog, a cat – even a fish. The young couple employed by the pet crematorium collect them all. She mumbles something about forms that have to be filled in at this difficult time and ashes that will be returned within 24 hours. He wraps the departed pet in a blanket and puts it in the back of the jeep. They hardly speak during the rest of the day. They drive through a post-apocalyptic landscape on the shabby periphery of an industrial city. They make love, swim and are surprised by the large numbers of dead animals strewn along the roadside. When they hit a stray dog, their relationship starts to derail. The universe has lost its harmony.

In Kala azar, the camera regularly hangs at dog's eye level, so we see mainly feet and legs. Humans and animals communicate in similar ways: without words, with a growl and a shove. This also applies to the girl's parents, who live with a pack of dogs, and the silent migrant workers in a dusty chicken hatchery. Only the hunters at the neighbouring shooting range are loud and heartless – a different archetype.

Kala azar is named after an infectious disease decimating the canine population of Southern Europe. But this enigmatic debut is mainly about the thin line between life and death, the spiritual connection between human and animal and the fragility of love between humans.

Winner IFFR 2020 KNF Award.

Janis Rafa
World premiere
Countries of production
Netherlands, Greece
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2020
Digna Sinke, Konstantinos Kontovrakis, Giorgos Karnavas
Production Companies
SNG Film, Heretic
Heretic Outreach
Janis Rafa
Thodoros Mihopoulos
Patrick Minks
Production Design
Elena Vardava
Sound Design
Marc Lizier
Pinelopi Tsilika, Dimitris Lalos, Michele Valley, Tasos Rafailidis
Local Distributor
Gusto Entertainment