After the massacre perpetrated on the Rwandan Tutsis in 1994, tens of thousands of Hutus fled to neighbouring Zaire, and many of them never returned. In March of 1997, Hubert Sauper travelled along on a UN train in search of these ‘forgotten’ refugees, who were living in poverty thousands of miles from home, plagued by famine, disease and attacks by various armed militias.
Along the tracks that are overgrown by the rainforest, Sauper leads the viewer into the ‘heart of darkness’, the same place about which Joseph Conrad wrote his novel a century earlier. The film confronts the audience with the consequences of civil war, the chaos and the inconceivable suffering. Sauper gives us images of emaciated children with large eyes and silent adults with a gaze that betrays their feelings when all hope has vanished. We watch as photographers and cameramen depict this misery, and we observe the impotence of the international community: time and again, relief efforts run into logistical problems.
The Movies that Matter Festival presents the retrospective of Hubert Sauper, with his award-winning documentary Darwin’s Nightmare and his latest film We Come as Friends.