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.