Director: Michael K. Zongo, France/Burkina Faso
Filmmaker Michel Zongo from Burkina Faso never knew his older brother Joanny who left in 1978 as a 14-year-old to work in the neighboring Cote d‘Ivoire. In Burkina Faso that journey is considered a rite of passage to becoming a man. After 18 years of silence from Joanny, a family friend reported
that Joanny had died in the village near Gagnoa where he had been living and working on a cocoa plantation. Zongo decided to retrace his brother‘s steps and, in doing so, tell the story of inter-African emigration.
His camera becomes a vehicle of transportation which tells about the distance and alienation of two parts of his family. It tells about the universal problems of absence and waiting and also about the modern slavery that immigrants endure. It is, in effect, a sociological film about family and the strong bond that one cannot imagine being disrupted.
In a certain way, this is a road movie as Zongo boards an overcrowded bus to travel to the Cote d‘Ivoire.The driver says a prayer to begin the trip while the bus drives along unpaved roads through a rebel area during the recent civil war. (TF)