With: With: Elie Larson, Roger May, Steve Driesen, Imotep Tshilombo, Annette Kelly, Maria Misra. An elderly Congolese man states in the documentary, 'if you want to fight the white man where do you get the power. The programme takes an innovative approach to the documentary style, using mock court scenes where individuals who witnessed the brutal oppression in the Congo give testaments, as an elderly man dressed as King Leopold sits in the dock. The tragic episode that occurred in the Congo during the late 19th century, with its unspeakable horrors of an orgy of systematic exploitive carnage and mass murder, took place in the wake of the when representatives from European countries assembled in the German capital and partitioned the African continent among their respective European governments. Cast Credited cast: Rest of cast listed alphabetically:. The programme is careful to stress that Belgium was not the only colonial power to exploit Africa, and that the legacy of this exploitation is present in all former European colonial powers.
Indeed, this tragic relationship has lasted from the time that the Berlin Conference attendees transferred the huge central African territory to King Leopold in 1885 and the subsequent formal retransfer to the Belgian state in 1908 which created the colony of the Belgian Congo and continued a legacy of exploitation and cruelty that slogged along for decades. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. To obtain it and have it shown to the public was a major coup for ArtMattan and they are to be congratulated for doing so. It's a shocking, astonishing story. I want to focus on this particular feature because I believe it shows why the African Diaspora Film Festival is so important in its ongoing commitment to try and track down films that are difficult to obtain to more properly inform people in the U.
The profits harvested from the exploitation of the Congo is shown in the ornate public buildings erected by King Leopold, who viewed this colonial experiment as a means to bolster Belgian's position on the world stage. With: With: Elie Larson, Roger May, Steve Driesen, Imotep Tshilombo, Annette Kelly, Maria Misra. After some four months of travel towards Belgium, they are exhibited before a million visitors. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber. These hordes of marauders swept across the from the and captured thousands of Africans whose weapons to defend themselves were grossly inferior. For the most part, he uses talking-head interviews, contemporary location shooting in Belgium and the Congo , and archival footage and photographs including the notorious photos of the wounded and maimed victims. Minister to Haiti 1885-1886 , who had been commissioned by the Belgian government to tour the Congo and report back to the authorities in Brussels what immediate reforms should be employed to alleviate the deplorable conditions in the territory under control of Leopold.
Our main objective is to provide an online portal where people of African decent; African heritage and friends of Africa can liaise and exchange knowledge and information. This rule was seldom observed as soldiers kept shooting monkeys and then later chopping off human hands to provide their alibis. Himself - Director, Royal Museum for Central Africa. Using interviews with historians, rare documents, and historical reenactments of Leopold's atrocities, Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death is framed by footage of an imagined trial with the king facing a jury for his crimes against humanity -- crimes he was never charged with in his lifetime. Thus far, audiences have seen more than a week of a treasure trove of international cinematic documentaries, feature films, cartoons, drama or comedy to hundreds of filmgoers.
This is especially important when the storyline deals with how foreigners relate to African people. As one Charles Banks informs the audience, the right hand of those who were seen to be slackers would be hacked off at the wrist, sometimes being smoked for preservation, or sometimes disregarded like the time when 160 hands of men, women and children were eventually all thrown into a river. The abject misery and utter abandon is positively indescribable. The programme is an original attempt at investigating a forgotten aspect of history; this creativity is demonstrated through its inventive style and its use of non-English speaking experts to recount the story. William Sheppard, there was neither any attention nor even mention of his early concerns regarding the calamitous events in the Congo. After all, in the analysis, counterproductive activity is counterproductivity. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber.
During the bloodthirsty 23-year reign of Leopold's terror that ravished the Congo, the mad king would rake in roughly 15 million dollars in personal profit at the expense of over 10 million African lives. The foreign ministry still refuses to release a report by Leopold's own investigators in 1905, which confirmed allegations of systematic mutilation and killings - richly tapped by Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness. The Congo was turned into a massive labor camp in which villages were destroyed if locals failed to work for the invading entrepreneurs. The project was overblown, but necessary in the eyes of the first colonizers, who presumed to have tamed the far-flung savages. Those in other countries need to view it so that they can understand the historical wrongs Africans have been forced to undergo by non-Africans and how European white supremacists arrogates unto themselves the mantle of being civilized and the paradigm of virtue, with the right to do everything they just well please providing that they can gain profit and pleasure at our expense. This true, shocking, astonishing story of what the Belgians did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. A good companion piece would be Lumumba, the 2000 feature film about the continued problems of Congo's colonization later in the 20th century.
The historical dramatization is told by a series of academics, religious personalities and political figures, some actually portraying themselves while others are assigned to represent those who have passed away because their contributions go back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the staging segues back and forth between the two periods. Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Following M'Bokolo's research in Belgium, Britain and the Congo, the programme reconstructs the events which led to the estimated deaths of nearly ten million Congolese. King Leopold created his own colony in the Congo over which he ruled unchecked. In a way, it's a horrifying prelude in European history to the Holocaust. Concurrent to this, the European slave trade in the trafficking of Africans, also helped to finance the development of western Europe, while simultaneously aiding and abetting the underdevelopment of Africa and its indigenous people.
He was multi-talented, and would later worked as an anthropologist, photographer, art collector and even a big-game hunter. The figure of King Leopold is effectively put on trial for his complicity in the atrocities committed. William Morrison, he was sued for libel by a number of Belgian concessionaires for a blistering January 1908 report the same year that the anti-Leopold campaign forced the maniacal monarch to yield his control over his colossal prize to the Belgian state. It also offers a solid number of other historians from the Congo itself as well as Belgium and the United Kingdom. Leopold and his soldiers used the Congolese natives as forced labor, with those who refused to work for the Belgians or who violated their newly established laws punished by dismemberment, torture, or death; between 1885 and 1920, nearly ten million people were either slaughtered or worked to death in the Congo under Leopold's rule. On Friday, December 10th and Saturday, December 11th, the venue will move over to Teachers College at Columbia University, 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, where panel discussions will be held throughout the day. Himself as Professor Elikia M'Bokolo.
Bate does a commendable job combining traditional documentary techniques with some unusual touches. Like so many Holocaust films, Congo could be a great teaching tool in classrooms. What the Belgians did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. Soon after, representatives from Europe and the United States delivered the region --renamed the Congo Free State, later Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of Congo --into Leopold's rapacious care. I was so moved, Your Excellency, by the people's stories that I took the liberty of promising them that in future you will only kill them for crimes they commit. The documentary avoids such pitfalls however by alerting its audience to the complete system of oppression of the Congolese, the paranoia of the Belgian state regarding the release of reports concerning their colonial property, and importantly re-enacting the testimonies given by native Congolese to observers. By choosing to represent the atrocities through the dramatised testimonies of those who witnessed it the programme exhibits an innovative approach.
It was President Cleveland who sent an American representative to participate in the Berlin meeting that launched the European scramble for Africa and their carving up the continent and redistributing it among themselves. Morel, who exposed the human rights abuses in Congo and published photographs of the mutilated Congolese. The programme aims to bring these crimes to the centre-stage and uses archive photographs and reconstructions to depict the terror inflicted by Belgian colonists. Reconstructed Congolese villages are burnt to the ground and the vicious punishments imposed are acted out as the documentary forces the visualisation of the crimes as a powerful counterpoint to the staid courtroom scenes. Reviewed at Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles, Feb. These events have seemingly been forgotten in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and especially Belgium, where the apparent amnesia regarding the nation's brutal colonial rule is highlighted.