Taking a look at the Democratic Republic of Congo, Daniel McCabe’s documentary covers multiple subjects which are the cause of the country’s problems. Ranging from war, to corruption and international relations, a few separate stories are told of life in the war torn country.
Showing the violence of a war which has been almost non-stop for decades, the director explores the real lives of those surrounded by the atrocities to which they have become accustomed. Whilst there are some shocking stories, it all feels a bit all over the place and doesn’t take the time to tell the full story.
Starting with a shot of a group of people keeping their spirits up with singing and dancing, the reality of their situation kicks in as a tank rolls past and launches its attack. From here it’s a fairly relentless story, crossing paths of those within the national army, people part of one of the 50+ resistance groups and everyday citizens as McCabe sews his story together with history lessons and footage of their current leader. This is not a movie which shys away from the brutality and blood as you are show catastrophic imagery which stays with you. It goes to show how much these people want their country to be something great again.
Speaking of what they must do in order to thrive and survive, McCabe has sevreal conversations with anyone willing to speak to him. Bibianne, known to everyone as Mama Romance, is a single mother who keeps her kids fed and educated by illegally buying, selling and smuggling gemstones, Hakiza Nyantaba is a tailor who for the sixth time has fled and seems far too used to such a horrible life. They are both fully aware of how difficult their lives are when it should be smooth sailing due to the Congo’s vast minerals which are sold to the world. The Congolese see none of this profit, consistently see their country suffer as the rest of the world prospers thanks to them. There are also two soldiers interviewed by McCabe, one keeping his identity secret due to his position within the army and another is a young man who wants only the best for his country but his views don’t necessarily match up with the masses.
As it shows the horrors the country sees on a daily basis, you want it could go more in depth with a couple of subjects rather than tell us everything in a running time of 92 minutes. A decent but messy attempt at reminding us all of what is still going on today.
3 out of 5.
Keep. It. Reel.