Travel & Place / Merida Market

There’s something about a market that is utterly engaging, partly because of what’s on show. For starters, the food is so much more enticing than anything you’d find at a supermarket and vegetable stands sit so close to cheese stalls and fruit sellers that you can’t help but allow your imagination to roam.

It would be difficult not to dream up a light summer salad of creamy mozarella burrata, fennel, mint and ripe nectarines when they’re displayed in such close proximity. Just add a simple dressing of oil, lemon and pepper.

Equally, in an antique market it is hard not to get carried away with one’s imagination: where did these piles of coloured beads and gold lockets come from, and what exactly would I do with that deep aubergine glass light shade that has caught my eye? Because there is no formula to how the wares are laid out, no theme that says this year you must decorate your home with a set of lacquered furniture inspired by a Japanese teahouse, your own preferences and tastes take priority. This doesn’t make those everyday creative decisions any easier; in fact it is much harder this way, though immensely more fun and far, far more satisfying when you get it right.

But the strength of markets doesn’t just lie with their produce; it’s in the people that occupy them too. Visiting the local market is often the quickest way to get a feel for the character of a place. Are the women doing the weekly shop or the men? Who is meandering around the edge drinking strong coffee and gossiping? What small crafts and businesses have people set up for themselves? Do they holler at each other laughing all the while, or are their shouts more urgent, aggressive? Markets are unashamedly communal, a great focus point for the life of a community. Their energy is uplifting; they pull you out of yourself and into a world more interactive and enlivening than that which many of us occupy on a daily basis. This short film tries to capture all of this, we think it does and hope you do too.

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