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The Last Colonials
A Film by Thierry Michel
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THE LAST COLONIALS visits with the last of the white population living in Zaire.

Whether adventurers, predators, or builders, a few thousand of these "last colonials" remain in Zaire, formerly the Belgian Congo. They are managers, missionaries, businessmen and land owners who have chosen to settle in the heart of Africa, and who remain there in spite of the violence and danger. They reminisce on the "good old days of the colonial era" and reveal shattered dreams in a country they thought might have been the new El Dorado. Some are heavily armed, but insist on maintaining their stakes as they await a "recolonization."

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As these last colonials tell their tales, a fascinating and largely hidden story is revealed in a country on the verge of bankruptcy after thirty five years of "independence" and a quarter century of dictatorship.

"Thierry Michel offers us a very intense and revealing documentary film. His pictures show the terrible violence that took place in '91 and '93, we can feel the desperation and witness tragic farewells as well as the obvious economic disaster."—Louis Danvers, Le Vif / L'Express (Brussels)

"Michel strongly portrays the last of the Belgian colonists living in Zaire, giving necessary background to a country in crisis."—Telerama (Paris)

"I am in Zaire for freedom. I pay no taxes here, and I do not have to vote. I am like a bird sitting on a branch. I have always lived freely. I do not think I shall leave the country. I am waiting for the recolonization and I am convinced it will happen sooner or later."—Antoine Declerck, Forest Ranger

"Before the independence, we had a marvelous life. Everything was well organized, everyone was happy. Now the whole population is suffering and the miss the colonial era. When independence happened, they all applauded, but nowadays they are disappointed."—Monsieur Jacques, Health Inspector

1995 Margaret Mead Film Festival
1995 Pan-African Festival of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
1995 Vues d'Afrique (Montreal)
  

61 minutes / color
Release: 1996
Copyright: 1995
Sale: $298

Subject areas:
Africa, Belgium, Central Africa, Congo, Economics

Related Titles:
Congo in Four Acts: A quartet of short films (on one dvd) that lay bare the reality of everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mobutu: The definitive history and visual record of the rise and fall of Joseph Désiré Mobutu, ruler of Zaire (the Congo) for over 30 years.

State of Mind: Therapist Albert Pesso trains mental-health care works in Kinshasa, Congo, in a technique to help genocide survivors overcome the traumas they witnessed and endured.

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