Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, is the only African capital to retain the name of a European: Pietro Savorgnan di Brazza, the Italian-born explorer who set out for Central Africa in 1875.
In spite of the fact that Brazza's efforts lead to the establishment of a French colony, he is still revered in Congo as a model of European-African relations that stands in contrast to Henry Stanley, who claimed a neighboring section of the Congo region for Belgium.
Using an innovative blend of animation, puppetry, archival material, and original documentary footage, BLACK AFRICA WHITE MARBLE traces Brazza's incredible original journey through the Congo, but the focus is a present-day David-and-Goliath story centered on Brazza's common European and African descendents.
A century after Brazza's suspicious death, Sassou Nguesso, the President of the Republic of Congo, plans to transfer the explorer's remains from his grave in Algiers to a multi-million dollar marble mausoleum in Congo's impoverished capital.
However, one woman stands in the way.
Idanna Pucci, Brazza's Italian descendent, was initially excited by this tribute to her ancestor. But when she visits Congo, Pucci discovers an insidious hidden agenda behind the plans. Touring the country, she witnesses first -hand how Congolese citizens suffer at the hands of the corrupt Nguesso government. Worse still, she uncovers that at the heart of Nguesso's plan is an attempt to marginalize King Makoko, spiritual leader of the Batéké people, with whom Brazza had been particularly close. Unable to ignore these injustices-and not wanting to see Brazza's legacy marred by association with Nguesso's worst excesses-Pucci unites her relatives in a plan to make the memorial benefit the Congolese people, and restore authority to King Makoko.
With this story, BLACK AFRICA, WHITE MARBLE sheds a harsh light on Central Africa's colonial past and its troubled present in all of their fascinating complexities.
"Brilliant! A riveting, powerful, beautifully made film. As history, as betrayal, as a family story with operatic twists and turns. This film has it all-and it is magical!" —Joanna Molloy, New York Daily News
Best Documentary, Berlin Independent Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, 2014 Africa World Documentary Film Festival
Grand Prix of Documentary, 2012 Festival Annecy Cinema Italien (France)
Official Selection, Zanzibar International Film Festival, 2014
African World Film Festival, 2014
2012 African Film Festival New York, Film Society at Lincoln Center
2012 Festival del Cinema Africano-Asia-America Latina (Italy)
2012 Mostra Internacional de Cinema - Sao Paulo (Brazil)
2012 African Studies Association Conference
2012 ViaEmiliaDocFest (Italy)
2012 Kibaka Florence Festival (Italy)
2013 Festival Terra di Cinema (France)
2013 Festival de Lasalle en Cevennes (France)
2013 Vicino Lontano Festival (Italy)
2013 African Film Festival National Traveling Series\
2013 Sheffield Doc/Fest Videotheque (UK)
Audience Award, 2013 Cambridge Film Festival (UK)
2013 Lights, Camera, AFRICA Festival (Nigeria)
"Terrific. A wonderful film." —D.A. Pennebaker, filmmaker
"I loved it. An eclectic and wonderful film. And history I was happy to learn." —Walter Murch, film editor and sound designer
"A well and innovatively told tale of a little-known bit of history in a little-known corner of Africa." —Anthropology Review Database
"Transmits a fascinating tale and valuable information about African history and its use by current rulers and stakeholders in Africa and in Europe." —Leonardo Reviews