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Congo in Four Acts
Produced by Djo Tunda & Steven Markovitz
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Ladies in Waiting is also available on a separate DVD
Ladies in Waiting
Directed by Dieudo Hamadi & Divita Wa Lusala

In a run-down maternity hospital, a ward of women who recently had their babies wait to be allowed to leave. The problem? They cannot pay their hospital fees. A long-suffering manager must negotiate collateral with them so that they will return and pay in full: a celebration dress, a pair of earrings, a suitcase. The film eloquently exposes both the squalid hospital system and the endemic poverty of Congo without, thankfully, pointing fingers, leaving that instead to the viewer.

Symphony Kinshasa
Directed by Kiripi Katembo Siku

Take a hard-hitting tour through Congoís capitol city and discover the consequences of graft, neglect and poverty, as Sikuís film reveals Kinshasaís imploding infrastructure. Malaria is rife, fresh water is as rare as flood water is common, electricity cables lie bare and live in the street, garbage is everywhere and as a priest notes ďliving in the capital is like living in a village. The services are the same, non-existent.Ē Itís not pretty but itís revelatory.

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Zero Tolerance
Directed by Dieudo Hamadi

Rape as a weapon of war has had much press, most notably in the recent Congo wars. Less discussed is the legacy it has left behind; a desensitized acceptance of the abuse of women at the hands of criminals, opportunists and most worryingly, ordinary men. Hamadiís documentary film aims to get right to the heart of the matter by following the arrest of a group of youths who attack a woman returning from the shops. Hamadiís focus is a rural community, where political correctness holds no sway, and in doing so he attempts to show both the depth of the problem and the attempts by authorities to reset the national moral code. The filmís unexpected triumph is its honesty- both in the depiction of poverty and the communityís burgeoning anger at the endemic abuse.

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After the Mine
Directed by Kiripi Katembo Siku

Kipushi is a mining town, one of thousands keeping Congoís elite in extreme wealth. But for those who live in the shadow of its toxic fallout, it is a very different life, one where tainted water and contaminated soil are realities. Sikuís film tells the very personal stories of those trapped in such a deadly environment.

"Hard-hitting, eye-opening expose." —Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

"Highly effective quartet of documentaries on the woes of central Africa state Democratic Republic of the Congo, it presents some harrowing material in bracingly direct fashion. —The Auteurs

"LADIES IN WAITING channels Frederick Wiseman as it
chronicles the bureaucratic dysfunctions of a Kinshasa maternity ward.
—Hot Docs

"This documentary presents a raw view of how national issues of war and government corruption trickle down and create citizens who replicate that violence and create a society in which dignity and respect are relegated secondary to survival." —Educational Media Reviews Online

"A dramatic, visually shocking, and therefore effective piece of storytelling. ...Viewers are introduced to a range of experiences amount the ordinary (that is, poor) Congolese. ...There is a great deal to talk about here, and teachers and those who want to start a public dialog will find this quartet very useful." —Anthropology Review Database

2011 Society of Visual Anthropology Conference
2011 New York African Film Festival
2010 Berlin Film Festival
2010 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival
2010 Hot Docs Film Festival

69 minutes / color
Release: 2010
Copyright: 2009
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Anthropology, Central Africa, Conflict Resolution, Congo, Cultural Anthropology, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Related Links:
Filmmaker Page

Related Titles:
Berlin 1885: The Division of Africa: The story of the first international conference on Africa, which established its division amongst the European powers, and created Congo as a personal possession of the Belgian king.

Boyamba Belgique: The day before Congo gained independence, the sabre of the Belgian king Baudouin was stolen by a young Congolese. Fifty years later the filmmakers search for him, and discover the meaning of his act.

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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