Doors of the Past
African Directors • 14m
Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Drama • 2011 • 14 minutes
A professionally dressed white woman, a television anchor, sits in the studio, pen in hand. She looks straight into the camera and says, “At home, the older you get, the more people respect you. Here, old people have no use. It frightens me. I feel useless. My experiences don’t benefit anyone. I have no value.... Such hostility and indifference.”
In a corporate meeting room another white professional woman calmly speaks: “I arrive in Belgium on July 15, 1999. The weather is good. I do not speak. Not a word comes out of my mouth. I sleep only two hours a night, with sleeping pills.”
In DOORS OF THE PAST, filmmaker Rosine Mbakam juxtaposes the testimonies of three Rwandan genocide survivors—Rosette, Charlotte, and Christine—with images of well-dressed white Belgian women. The resulting dissonance brilliantly collapses distance and undercuts assumptions about the lives of refugees. Seeing a well-put-together professional in a Belgian boardroom looking at us as we hear the words, “Part of my family has been decimated... I ask God to give me strength to overcome my fears” drives home the dehumanization that often clouds discourse on refugees. Mbakam subtly and powerfully demonstrates that there is no “us” and “them.”
DOORS OF THE PAST is an early work of Mbakam’s that already shows the themes which have come to inform the award-winning filmmaker’s career.
Up Next in African Directors
Directed by Tunde Kelani • Drama • With Uche Ama Abriel, Bukky Ajayi, Larinde Akinleye • 2000 • 110 minutes
Thunderbolt will come as a bolt out of the blue to most Americans, even aficionados of African cinema. It is one of the best examples of the little-known but burgeoning video industry of N...
Ladies in Waiting
Directed by Dieudo Hamadi & Divita Wa Lusala • Documentary • 2009 • 24 minutes
Taking in the wives of the unemployed, of unpaid government employees, the Kitambo maternity clinic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo has to cope with its patients' lack of money. And negotiations are toug...
Ainsi Meurent Les Anges (And So Angel...
Directed by Moussa Sene Absa • Drama • With Ibrahima M'Baye, Thierno Ndiaye Doss • 2001 • 56 minutes
Moussa Sene Absa's latest work pushes the formal boundaries of African cinema to explore the complex interplay of history and psychology in contemporary Africa. Intensely personal and at the same...