Los Angeles Premiere | France | 2017 | Documentary | 96 min | In French and Swahili with English subtitles
Directed by: Emmanuel Gras
Cinematography: Emmanuel Gras
Film Editing: Karen Benainous
Original Score: Gaspar Claus
Produced by: Nicolas Anthomé (Bathysphere)
International Sales: Les Films du Losange
U.S. Distributor: Kino Lorber
“Makala” means charcoal in Swahili. But this solemn, restrained documentary is not about words. It is almost silent. It is the simple story of Kasongo, a 28-year-old man who dreams of building a home for his wife and daughters. To do so, he fells a colossal tree, turns it into charcoal, stuffs it into colossal bags, precariously loads them onto a rickety bicycle, then — Sisyphus-like — pushes his load up a colossal hill, through clouds of dust and exhaust fumes, to market. Emmanuel Gras’ exquisitely photographed, existential film, a loving ode to one man’s resolve and backbreaking labor, is said to be the first documentary ever selected by International Critics Week in Cannes, where the film was honored with the 2017 Grand Prize and a Golden Eye Special Mention for Best Documentary.
Emmanuel Gras | Writer/director/cinematographer Emmanuel Gras studied cinematography at the ENS Louis Lumière, worked at the French Cultural Center in Beirut, then served as cinematographer on numerous shorts and documentaries. He has written and directed eight documentaries of his own, including Bovines (2011), which was nominated for a César Award for Best Documentary, and 300 Souls (2014).
In association with Kino Lorber, Les Films du Losange