Makala (Swahili for "charcoal"), the new documentary by Emmanuel Gras, is a powerful testament to one man's commitment to his family, and his endurance in working to provide them with a brighter future. Kasongo, a 28-year-old man living in Congo with his wife and daughters, dreams of purchasing a plot of land on which to build his family a home. He sees his opportunity to earn money by selling charcoal, culled from the ashes of a mighty hardwood tree that he has felled and baked in an earthen oven. Loading up the bags of charcoal onto the back of his bicycle, Kasongo sets off on a daunting journey – up steep hills and across treacherous roads – to sell the charcoal at market. Featuring stunning cinematography that finds beauty in this tireless labor, Makala won the 2017 Grand Prize and Golden Eye Special Mention for Best Documentary at International Critics Week in Cannes.
“Resonates on a powerful emotional level. The poetic imagery and elegant sound design all contribute to a mesmerizing, lyrical descent into this cycle of survival, which ultimately embodies a universal struggle. A riveting adventure. One of this summer’s must-sees.”
“Edifying. A labor of love about back-breaking labor.”
“Intimate, rewarding. An appreciation of the need for perseverance and endurance in the face of considerable despair.”
“Evocative. Embraces the subject’s every move with such rapt intimacy and cinematic poetry it’s easy to forget this is not a fictional drama.”
Grand Prix – Cannes Critics' Week
Best Documentary – COLCOA French Film Festival in Los Angeles