RSS file with home page updates in XML RSS Info divider Bookmark and Share divider email Join our email list! divider cartCart
Icarus Film
Films from independent
producers worldwide.
32 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201divider(718) 488 8900
Travels in the Congo: Voyage au Congo
report by André Gide and Marc Allégret 
A film by Marc Allégret
With a new score by Mauro Coceano
 Text Size  Increase Font Size   Decrease Font Size   divider Printable VersionPrintable Version

film still

In 1925, Marc Allégret accompanied André Gide on a journey to French Equatorial Africa, the Congo, as his secretary, and novice filmmaker. Filming throughout their 11-month travels, and only three years after Nanook of the North, Allégret’s goal was to immerse viewers “as we ourselves had been, in the atmosphere of this mysterious country.” 

Unusual for its time Travels in the Congo (Voyage au Congo) is a largely observational documentary (with one dramatized sequence) showing aspects of the lives, culture, and built environments of diverse groups in the region, amongst them the Baya, Sara and Fula peoples, and without trying to shoehorn them into a dramatic narrative.

Travels in the Congo does, of course, retain a certain colonial gaze; in writing about the film, Allégret referred to its subjects as “a humanity without history.” But overall it remains steadfast in its approach, presenting its subjects on their own terms.

After Travels in the Congo, Marc Allégret had a long career as a filmmaker and photographer. André Gide wrote two books about their time in Africa, Travels in the Congo and Return from Chad, and went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Allégret and Gide carried out most of their journey on foot. Porters carried the film’s negatives for months, through extreme heat and humidity. But the nitrate footage survived. In 2018, Travels in the Congo was restored and digitized by Les Films du Panthéon in collaboration with Les Films du Jeudi, with the support of CNC and the Cinémathèque française, and the help of the British Film Institute. This restored version also includes a newly commissioned instrumental score.

The film that emerged from their voyage stands as a singular account, through its images and their subtext, of the complex and uneasy power dynamics inherent in erotic exchange, between men and women, the young and the old, the photographer and the subject, the colonizer and the colonized." —Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, Light Industry

TRAVELS IN THE CONGO stands as a masterpiece of early ethnographic cinema and the most influential film of Allegret’s entire career; Played a seminal role in the emergence of cinematic ethnography. In contrast to both Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922) and Leon Poirier’s hit La Croisière Noire / The Black Journey (1926), Allegret wanted his film to be an objective record of African cultures that informed and explained rather than entertaining through adventure and exoticism. — Brett Bowles, The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film

Premiere, 2018 Louvre Museum
Official Selection, 2018 Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival
Best Restoration & Preservation Nominee, FOCAL International Awards

117 minutes / B&W
French / English subtitles
Release: 2017
Copyright: 1927

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, France, Historiography, History, Indigenous Peoples, Literature, Racism, Film History, Cinema Studies, Cultural Studies

Watch the trailer:

Related Titles:
Home | New | Titles | Subjects | PDFs | Ordering | Resources | Latest News | Site Map   
About | Closed Captioned | Best Sellers | Study Guides | Filmmakers | RSS | Screenings   
address
  Follow Us! On...
Facebook Follow Icarus Films on Twitter YouTube
Copyright (c) 2018, Icarus Films
Last Updated December 8, 2018 [Build 3.0.a039-d]
Privacy Policy