Milo Rau, Switzerland/Germany, 2017, 100'
World Premiere
Sunday August 6th, 11.00, Cinema Teatro Kursaal
Monday August 7th, 18.30, L'altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

It is a war that goes almost unnoticed in our region. But it is a war that has caused more than 6 million deaths over the past twenty years: the economic war in Congo. In the fight over the mines, which supply valuable raw materials to produce mobile phones among other things, terrible massacres keep being perpetrated. The conditions are atrocious and confusing – and the effects have an impact even on us because we are the end consumers. No one has been held accountable yet. A fact that incited the Swiss theatre director Milo Rau to stage a tribunal. As a theatre project, on stage. In the middle of the war zone, in the eastern Congolese town of Bukavu in May 2015, and in Berlin shortly thereafter.

'Vérité et justice' is emblazoned with large letters above the stage of Bukavu. Authentic protagonists, mine workers, family members of victims, rebels, who are prepared to give evidence, and even politicians are on stage; real lawyers and judges from The Hague decide who should be held responsible for the massacres.

Milo Rau proceeded to lengthy local research with his camera, visiting the places where the massacres were perpetrated, filming in mining villages, seeing politicians and confronting them. All this sometimes upsetting, sometimes disturbing footage can now be seen in the documentary Das Kongo Tribunal, together with key scenes from the two tribunals. The film, which concludes this project, keeps leaving the closed and defined theatre space and visits some of the places to show what could only be told on stage. Illustrating this war, the cameras turn us into witnesses of the atrocities that Congo – a rich country – is subjected to. And these images, which were edited together with the tribunal scenes, reinforce the impression of the urgency of this event. Where politics fail, where judicial systems are corrupt, where an entire war literally has no media coverage because the interests of large corporations and entire nations are behind it, there is only one thing to do: make it visible! Document, record, shoot. The amazing and poignant thing about it is that Milo Rau has succeeded in persuading many protagonists to speak in front of the camera, to make a statement and bear testimony.

The film Das Kongo Tribunal is an overwhelming document and a complex analysis of the conditions in that country on the African continent that has such an abundance of mineral resources and is therefore characterised by a brutal neo-colonial spirit.

Brigitte Häring