The University of Iowa

Congo (DRC, Zaire) Film List

Format: VHS
Language: English, Italian with English voiceover, and local language(s) with English subtitles.
Run Time: 43 min.
Description: To successive stories about the struggle going on in Congo. First ... a decade of crises: the Tutsi genocide in neighboring Rwanda, the resulting flood of refugees into Congo, the irreparable ecological damage done to Congo's wildlife, and the depredations against native Congolese and Rwandan refugees by Rwanda Hutu raiders and others. Then ... the town of Shabunda, where a Catholic priest is trying to help his traumatized flock deal with the rape and murder it endures.
Genre: Documentary

Format: VHS
Language: English and local language(s) with English subtitles ; closed captioned.
Run Time:  61 min.
Description: Three successive reports on the bleak prospects of the noncombatant Congolese population, caught in the crossfire of opposing armies, decimated by disease and malnutrition, and exploited by the greed of others for their nation's valuable natural resources. First ... the crisis in Kisingani ... next ... a middle-aged widow living in Bukavu who does heavy labor to support her ten children. And finally ... the co-opting of the region's diamond trade.
Genre: Documentary

Title: LUMUMBA (2000)  
Format: DVD
Language: French with English subtitles.
Run Time:  115 Min.
Description: Dramatizes the life of Congolese revolutionary, Patrice Lumumba, who lead his country to independence from Belgium in 1960. He served, for less than a year, as the first elected prime minister until he was brutally assassinated.
Genre: Drama

Language: English and French with English subtitles.
Run Time: 52 Min.
Description: The definitive visual record of the rise and fall of Joseph Désiré Mobutu, ruler of Zaire (the Congo) for over 30 years. Drawing upon 140 hours of rare archival material found in Kinshasa, and 50 hours of interviews with those once close to him, it tells the story of the man at the heart of Central Africa's post-colonial history.
Genre: Documentary

Format: VHS
Language: French and Wolof dialog, English subtitles.
Run Time: 93 min.
Description: A Congolese king searches for his daughter in Brussels where for a time he loses his royal fetishes, his identity, but finds a friend, a local cabdriver with a secret identity. With his help and a chain of coincidence (it must be destined), Mani Kongo is reunited with his daughter and his regalia and returns to Africa with a circle of friends.
Genre: Drama

Format: VHS
Language: French and Flemish with English subtitles; excerpts from 1950s films are silent with French or French, Swahili, Tchiluba, Kikongo, and Ingala intertitles and English subtitles.
Run Time:  55 Min
Description: In the 1950s a Belgian missionary and a film fanatic in the Congo, Albert Van Haelst, made twenty films featuring the African Laurel and Hardy -- Matamata and Pilipili. This documentary presents several of these first colonial films to come from the Congo, reclaiming an important episode in the history of Congolese popular culture while exploring the complex terrain of colonial relationships and media representations.
Genre: Documentary

Title:  PLAGUE FIGHTERS (1998)
Format: VHS
Language: Closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
Run Time: 60 min.
Description: An investigation into the deadly Ebola virus and the 1995 outbreak of the disease in Kikwit, Zaire.
Genre: Documentary  

TitleZaïre: le cycle du serpent = Zaire : the cycle of the snake  (1992)
Format: VHS
Language: French and other local language with English subtitles.
Run Time:  58 min.
Description: Documents five weeks in Kinshasa, chronicling life in the capital city and revealing the disparities in its social fabric. In addition to bourgeois traders, religious and military figures, we see handicapped beggars, transients and social outcasts, and Zaireans grieving for their dead, martyrs to an iron-gloved dictator.  
Genre: Documentary

TitleLumumba: la mort du prophète = The death of a prophet (1991) 
Format: VHS
Language: French, with English subtitles
Run Time: 70 min
Description: Meditation on the tragic events of Patrice Lumumba's twelve month rise and fall as Zaire's first and only popularly elected prime minister.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Wild gunman; RocketKitKongoKit (first work: 1978, second work: 1985)
Format: VHS
Language: English
Run Time: 20, 30 min.
Description: Wild gunman: from the opening loop of repeated exhortations to "shoot" and continuing through a frenetic montage of clips from feature films, commercials, documentaries and newsreels the emphasis is on society’s eventual self-destruction. RocketKitKongoKit: Story of Congo/Zaire from independence and civil war and the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko and associated corruption, repression and association with the West German organization OTRAG which placed a rocket launching facility in Zaire eventually leading to all out nuclear war.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Sorcerers of Zaire (1993)
Format: VHS
Language: In English or Chokwe with English subtitles
Run Time: 58 min
Description: Explores the life of the rural Chokwe tribe of southwestern Zaire, where hardship and starvation are a way of life. To assure that their modest food supply is distributed fairly, the Chokwe use a complex system of reprisals in which sorcerers are hired to resurrect ancestral ghosts to haunt those who hoard goods, causing them sickness and death. Focuses on four patients and two healers, following them through their traditional medical treatments. Also shows the rigorous initiation ritual in which masked dancers help prepare boys for manhood.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Les derniers colons = The last colonials (1995)
Format: VHS
Language: In French and English, with English subtitles
Run Time: 61 min.
Description: Visits with the last of the white population living in Zaire. 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.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Congo: white king, red rubber, black death (2004)
Format: DVD video, region 1, NTSC
Language: In English and French/Flemish with English subtitles
Run Time: 90 min.
Description: Describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885-1908. Under his control, Congo became a labor camp of shocking brutality. People were starved and tortured in the name of harvesting rubber.
Genre: Documentary

Title: La vie est belle (1987)
Format: VHS
Language: In French with English subtitles
Run Time: 85 min.
Description: The story of a rural, Zairian musician who uses his wit and talent to get his big break on television.
Genre: Drama