Bram Van Paesschen: Pale…

The title of the film is actually ”Pale Peko Bantu Mambo Ayikosake” which in swahili means ”Where there are people there will be problems”. And problems there are in Katanga, the location of this fresh and direct film that manages what most films do not when the subject is a foreign country with a foreign culture far away from wealthy Western Europe. The director has chosen to tell the story in first person, not through his own voice but through the main character. It is a very well written text that matches the intensity of a story that has a lot of humour in a dead serious context. Here is the catalogue annotation from when the film was shown at the idfa 2008 festival:

Isaac Mbuyi, a young Congolese man from Katanga, is a 21 years old and works as a ‘creuseur’, or a excavator. This means that he digs up cobalt using his bare hands or just a spade, in the abandoned mines in the once flourishing town of Kolwezi. Isaac’s dream is to go to university and through excavating he hopes to earn the money he needs to achieve this. But things are not that simple. The work is arduous and highly dangerous and moreover, excavators are an easy target for malafide dealers and profiteers. Isaac’s motto however is ‘qui ne risque rien, n’a rien’ (nothing ventured nothing gained) but he doesn’t realize that his story will come to a bitter end.

The film, selected for several festivals, is produced by Belgian broadcaster VRT/Canvas, a sequel by same director is on its way from Savage Film.

Belgium, 2008, 95 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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