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Black Africa White Marble

Directed by Clemente Bicocchi
Produced by Terence Ward & Fourlab

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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.

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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.

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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 Bateke 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

"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

"Offers an entry into the world of Francafrique and the need to open a valuable discussion on issues of history, memory and personal responsibility." African Studies Review

Best Documentary, Berlin Independent Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, Africa World Documentary Film Festival 2014
Audience Award, 2013 Cambridge Film Festival 2013
Grand Prix of Documentary, Festival Annecy Cinema Italien 2012
Sheffield Doc/Fest Videotheque 2013
African Film Festival New York 2012

78 minutes / Color
English; French; Italian / English subtitles
Release: 2012
Copyright: 2012

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, Biographies, Central Africa, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Studies, Ethics, History (World), Human Rights, Republic of Congo

Watch the trailer:

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