The Berlin Film Festival has been gradually unveiling its massive 2012 lineup over the last couple of months or so; and scrolling through the 38 selections for its Forum section announced today, and I came across this…
A film titled Espoir Voyage (direct translation would be Hope Voyage, or Hope Travel, or more than likely, Voyage Of Hope) by Burkinabe filmmaker Michel K Zongo, whose name I’m just now becoming aware of, despite the fact that he’s been around for a few years (since around 2001, as my research tells me, working in various positions, not just as director).
I dug, and I dug, and I dug, but I couldn’t find much at all on the film or the filmmaker (the photo is the only one I came across); although I’m sure that will change over the next month or so, after the film makes its international premiere at the Berlinale.
I did manage a synopsis which reads:
Filmmaker Michel Zongo sets off to the Ivory Coast to find out what happened to his lost brother. Joanny left to go there many years ago and never returned, searching like so many others for work in the more affluent neighboring country.
So, yes, it’s a documentary feature, a France/Burkina Faso production that director Zongo has been working on since 2009 and is now ready to make its international debut at the prestigious Berlinale in the Forum section.
I did find an interview with Zongo from 2010 in which he does talk about this particular project; the interview is all in French, so I had to translate. This is what I came up with:
A history of my older brother who left when I was only four years, and so I don’t know him. I just have the image of someone who was bigger than me. I always expected him to come back. There was a rite of passage for those his age: he had to leave and return, assert himself and earn some money to get married, buy a bike, build a house. To be a man basically. He left like many of his generation and he never returned. And twenty years later, I grew up, of course, and learned through a nephew that he died there 2 or 3 years before. I never was able to digest that information. There was a funeral, so it was not a rumor. I tried to make the journey to follow the path he took, by following the same route, which took me to Ivory Coast where I found the town where he lived, and his former employer because he worked in the plantations. The film is built around my meetings, travel, research of his history. This was an opportunity to meet lots of people, including compatriots from Burkina Faso who worked in the forest. I was able to share moments of joy, grief, and dreams; around connecting the lines between him and me, as I took this journey. So it’s very personal… This film was also initiation for me… I learned about him by making the film. Suddenly, I understood his choice. So it worked as a therapeutic approach. No doubt, because even if I were not a filmmaker, I would have still have taken this trip. It’s a chance to be a director and to use my own stories and share them with others. For me, in film, this is it! If your own story can be a movie, it’s great because it’s closer to you!
The full interview can be found HERE for those French speakers who might appreciate it more.
The filmmaker and film are now on my alert list, so as soon as I learn anything further, so will you.