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Congo in Four Acts

Produced by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and Steve Markovitz 

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A quartet of short films (on one DVD) that lay bare the reality of everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Produced by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and Steve Markovitz, Congo in Four Acts screened at the Berlin Film Festival and Hot Docs, among 20 other international film festivals. It was developed from a successful training and production project in the DRC over nine months with the support of the INSAS film school in Belgium and the Jan Vrijman Fund in Holland.

Ladies in Waiting

Directed by Dieudo Hamadi & Divita Wa Lusala (24 minutes)

In a run-down maternity hospital, a ward of women who recently had their babies wait to be allowed to leave. The problem? They cannot pay their hospital fees. A long-suffering manager must negotiate collateral with them so that they will return and pay in full: a celebration dress, a pair of earrings, a suitcase. The film eloquently exposes both the squalid hospital system and the endemic poverty of Congo without, thankfully, pointing fingers, leaving that instead to the viewer.

Ladies in Waiting is also available on a separate DVD

Symphony Kinshasa

Directed by Kiripi Katembo Siku (15 minutes)

Take a hard-hitting tour through Congo's capitol city and discover the consequences of graft, neglect and poverty, as Siku's film reveals Kinshasa's imploding infrastructure. Malaria is rife, fresh water is as rare as flood water is common, electricity cables lie bare and live in the street, garbage is everywhere and as a priest notes "living in the capital is like living in a village. The services are the same, non-existent." It's not pretty but it's revelatory.

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Zero Tolerance

Directed by Dieudo Hamadi (17 minutes)

Rape as a weapon of war has had much press, most notably in the recent Congo wars. Less discussed is the legacy it has left behind; a desensitized acceptance of the abuse of women at the hands of criminals, opportunists and most worryingly, ordinary men. Hamadi's documentary film aims to get right to the heart of the matter by following the arrest of a group of youths who attack a woman returning from the shops. Hamadi's focus is a rural community, where political correctness holds no sway, and in doing so he attempts to show both the depth of the problem and the attempts by authorities to reset the national moral code. The film's unexpected triumph is its honesty- both in the depiction of poverty and the community's burgeoning anger at the endemic abuse.

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After the Mine

Directed by Kiripi Katembo Siku (14 minutes)

Kipushi is a mining town, one of thousands keeping Congo's elite in extreme wealth. But for those who live in the shadow of its toxic fallout, it is a very different life, one where tainted water and contaminated soil are realities. Siku's film tells the very personal stories of those trapped in such a deadly environment.

"A hard-hitting, eye-opening expose." —The Hollywood Reporter

"Highly effective quartet of documentaries on the woes of central Africa state Democratic Republic of the Congo, it presents some harrowing material in bracingly direct fashion." —The Auteurs

"LADIES IN WAITING channels Frederick Wiseman as it chronicles the bureaucratic dysfunctions of a Kinshasa maternity ward." —Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival

"This documentary presents a raw view of how national issues of war and government corruption trickle down and create citizens who replicate that violence and create a society in which dignity and respect are relegated secondary to survival." —Educational Media Reviews Online

"A dramatic, visually shocking, and therefore effective piece of storytelling…Viewers are introduced to a range of experiences amount the ordinary (that is, poor) Congolese. …There is a great deal to talk about here, and teachers and those who want to start a public dialog will find this quartet very useful." —Anthropology Review Database

2011 Society of Visual Anthropology Conference
2011 New York African Film Festival
2010 Berlin Film Festival
2010 Cinema du Reel Film Festival
2010 Hot Docs Film Festival

69 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2010
Copyright: 2009

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Central Africa, Conflict Resolution, Congo, Cultural Anthropology, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

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