Atalaku

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    Atalaku

    Directed by

    France, Congo Dem. Rep.

    2013

    60 min

    • French
    • Lingala

    Documentary

    The 2011 presidential election is only the second free election since the Democratic Republic of the Congo gained independence in 1960. Gaylor, a penniless (like most of Kinshasa’s nine million inhabitants) pastor turns into an atalaku, which means a “crier” in Lingala. He makes a deal with the political candidate who has offered him the highest price for his services: ensuring the campaign’s street publicity and finding musicians to write the campaign’s song. Atalaku could certainly not have been made by a non-Congolese, given the extent to which the filmmaker becomes one with those he films – he is sometimes summoned to film ballot-box stuffing and the teeming crowd make way for him, dimly aware that having a witness is crucial. The film is constructed so as to show the domino effect between the atalaku and those he pays down the line – musicians, salespeople, dancers – to a point of confusion as Gaylor, who preaches for a very ephemeral god, is blamed for his inability to keep the promises of others. Hamadi’s choice to continue filming two weeks after the election alllowed him to accommodate an epilogue that breaks with this occasionally violent immersion, which also gives the film its force.

    Awards

    • Joris Ivens Award - Cinéma du Réel
    • Young Adults Jury Award - Black Movie FF

    Credits

    Cinematography
    Dieudo Hamadi
    Editing
    Dieudo Hamadi
    Production
    DIEUDO HAMADI
    Dieudo Hamadi

    Dieudo Hamadi

    Congo Dem. Rep.

    Documentary is the most compatible medium with my environment.

    Dieudo Hamadi was born in 1984 in Kinsangani (Democratic Republic of Congo) and graduated from INSAS film school in Brussels. Since 2002, he has completed several documentary film workshops and video editing courses and has worked as an editor, producer, and assistant director, including for Suka! Productions.

    He was awarded the Pierre and Yolande Perrault grant at Cinéma du Réel in 2010 for the film DAMES EN ATTENTE, co-directed with Divita Wa Lusala. CONGO IN FOUR ACTS, co-directed with other three directors, was screened at Berlinale Forum in 2010. ATALAKU won the Joris Ivens award at Cinéma du Réel, and the Young Adults Jury Award at Black Movie. NATIONAL DIPLOMA screened at the International Competition of Cinéma du Réel in 2014 where it won the Scam Award and the Potemkine Publishers' Award. MAMA COLONEL screened at Berlinale Forum where it won the Independent Jury Prize, and Cinéma du Réel where it won the Grand Prix.

    Selected Filmography