En route pour le milliard

Downstream to Kinshasa
Directed by: 
Downstream to Kinshasa (Dieudo Hamadi)

In the summer of 2000 Ugandan and Rwandan troops fought a devastating battle in Kisangani. The International Court of Justice sentenced Uganda to pay one billion U.S. dollars to the civilian victims. After almost twenty years of waiting in vain, some of them set out for Kinshasa to enforce their legal claim. The physical and theatrical power of their mission both drives and radiates from this film.

Dieudo Hamadi has given the women and men he is about to follow down the Congo a visually confident and assured exposition. Gathered on an inky black stage, they look at us and sing: of blood spilled, of money forgotten. Then the march of the maimed sets itself in motion, on crutches, with prostheses, past the nearby pits of the dead and out into the country. Every metre covered is an act of rebellion. When the procession of beggars, who rightly won’t tolerate this designation, finally climbs the stairs of the National Parliament, iconic scenes of Soviet revolutionary cinema seem to shine through. But the crowd that is moving here is different. Its individual bodies push back with all their weight both against the casual shrug of the shoulders of political routine and the carelessly rounded calculations of loss and equivalent value of the arithmetic of war.

(Sylvia Görke, DOK Leipzig)