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145 Ratings


Directed by Emmanuel Gras
France, 2017


Kasongo lives in Congo with his wife and daughters, and dreams of purchasing a plot of land to build a home for his family. Kasongo earns money by selling charcoal. He fills up the bags of charcoal onto the back of his bicycle, and sets off on a daunting and long journey to sell it at the market.

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Makala Directed by Emmanuel Gras
A film of considerable beauty, Makala locates an epic dimension in the humblest of existences. But Gras is not seeking to ennoble poverty: he recognizes that for Kabwita, and for many others like him, basic survival requires truly monumental efforts, and it is only right to film them as such.
July 03, 2017
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Even as Kasongois is confronted by hard-nosed people throughout the film, and his determination seems to waver toward the end of his trip, audiences will come away believing that he and his lot are not bereft of hope. Ultimately, the film proves its worth by betraying a minimum of condescension or intrusiveness.
June 09, 2017
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The quandaries raised by observational filmmaking are nothing new, and the sticky ethics of ethnographic cinema are at least as old as Robert J. Flaherty (“Nanook of the North”). But to ponder the colonial implications of a French director exoticizing a Congolese man whose family eats rats for meals is to realize that a movie can be heartwarming and heartless at once.
August 23, 2018
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