- Director: Machérie Ekwa Bahango
- Producer: Emmanuel Lupia Assani
The Democratic Republic of Congo is not known for making films...Maki'la deserves to be applauded for being made in what can only be described as a troubled country.
That trouble extends into the film...this a bleak and violent tale of street people...Congo's homeless. Life expectancy isn't too optimistic for these people...Machérie Ekwa Bahango delivers this news, deafeningly loud and violently clear.
Domestic abuse, mental health, drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution - even witchcraft...affect the lives of all who scrape a living. Needless to say some of the characters are a little unhinged, Mbingazor [husband/boyfriend/would-be-preacher] is an unflinching monster of a man...played to the extreme, i.e. over-acted. There are a few other weak performances...but, Maki'la herself is the shining light in this film. The agony of her existence is as unpleasant and is it palpable.
This is a brave film that suffers from inexperience and lack of money. But, still, talent oozes out - definitely, worth a watch...it is a deeply affecting film.
And, it is a privilege to watch what filmmakers in difficult situations are making. The future looks bright for Congolese film-making if this is anything to go by.
Maki’la has been living on the streets of the Congolese capital for a long time. She spends most of her time with a group of young wannabe sapeurs, who use the street as a stage to display their mostly stolen designer fashions. She is married to Mbingazor, the leader of the gang, who spends his time getting high or drunk. With little-to-no money for food, Maki finds life tough. Her frustration finally sees her coerce other street children to steal for her. When she encounters Acha, a fresh-faced new arrival from a faraway village, Maki not only encourages her to steal but the two become inseparable. Unfortunately, Mbingazor suspects that they are having a romantic relationship. Such rivalry can be deadly, as Bahango’s riveting film shows.