The arduous journey of a rural Congolese charcoal maker (makala means coal in Swahili) as he first prepares and then transports his precarious burden on top of a bicycle to sell in town is the unlikely subject of Emmanuel Gras’s profoundly moving, experiential film, a deserving winner of the Best Film at the 2017 Cannes FilmFestival’s Critics’ Week.
The director shadows his subject – twenty-eight-year-old Kabwita Kasongo – on his lengthy and gruelling trek without engaging in or resorting to sentiment, and as such Makala is an extraordinary piece of documentary observation.
This screening is part of the IFI Documentary Festival 2017, running from September 27th to October 1st. Find out more about the festival here.
Notes by David O’Mahony.