The Brick Mule


  • Michael Brown Marginal Voices



ethnographic film, anthrozoology, participatory documentary, observational cinema, Nepal, India, human-animal relations, mules, equines, animal welfare


This observational anthrozoological ethnographic film documents the lives of Nepal's working mules. The film finds a closeness with the mules; their sale in India, their journey to Nepal and their work in the huge brick factories of the Kathmandu valley and portering goods into the high Himalayas. Stunning cinematography and a crafted soundscape paint a moving portrait of Nepal's brick mules and the people who make their living with them. Honest, but non-judgemental, the film gives a unique insight into hardship of life for people and equines alike. Yet underlying questions about humanity and our relationship with animals underpin the film.

This film formed part of a community project using Paulo Freire’s ‘critical consciousness’ (Freire, 1978) theory, involving self-reflection and transformation, leading to changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that ultimately improved equine wellbeing. The theoretical underpinnings and project outcomes can be further explored through an open access paper published in Visual Studies journal.


A mule and a person hands grabing its head and neck




How to Cite

Brown, M. (2023). The Brick Mule. Journal of Anthropological Films, 7(02).