The Congo Strives to Make Cinema the Flagship of its Culture

The Congolese Minister of Culture wishes to revive the thriving cinema culture that the country once possessed

June 30th, 2016
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On June 24th, Léonidas Carel Mottom Mamoni, the Minister of Culture of the Congo met with Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, filmmaker and teacher at the New York University, to discuss the revival of the Congolese cinema.

Brazzaville used to have many cinemas but now almost all of them are closed. There remain a few small dark rooms where pirated movies are shown on TV. The reasons for this decline are multiple and complex, but religion has certainly played a key role. Prayer groups, mostly from the Eglise du Réveil, have invaded the old cinemas and protested against the violence and depravation depicted in the movies.
But this state of affairs could well be changing, as the Ministry of Culture of Congo wants to give life back to the cinematographic industry of the country. After his meeting with Minister Mamoni, Bakupa-Kanyinda said, “The Minister wishes to resume cinematographic activities so that it is the flagship of the Congolese culture. We are currently analysing a future plan for the continuation of this sector”.

However, to train new filmmakers it is essential that they can see movies made elsewhere in order to have fresh new ideas. This can only be achieved through the creation of proper cinemas. “One becomes a filmmaker by watching the movies of others. We need to train young people to produce. The youth must attend film clubs. You have to push young people to be in the medium" said Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda.
Sebastien Kamba, president of the Association des cineastes congolais, says, “There are some young directors that have been trained in great cinema schools, such as Charles Nouma, Thérèse Batalamio or Julio Nzambi. They are waiting to be exploited to their full potential”.

The Minister of culture highlighted the progress made by the Congo in the frame of cultural diplomacy, both in cinema and music with the Pan African Music Festival (FESPAM) that is to be held in Brazzaville. “Congolese authorities came back to Brazzaville, after their work in Addis-Abeba, with a strong commitment for the African Union to support the Congo” in its cultural activities, said M. Mamoni.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Gaspard Fontaine, CD News