NON IN COMPETITION

director: Thierry Michel
cinematography: Thierry Michel
editing: Idriss Gabel
production: Les Films de la Passarelle

 

The murder of the Congolese human-rights activist Floribert Chebeya and the disappearance of his driver, Fidele Bazana Edadi, caused a public outcry in the country and abroad. Despite attempts at a cover-up, from the very beginning everything pointed to the involvement of senior police officials close to President Laurent Kabila. Besides, Chebeya was in fact on his way to meet with the chief of police… In the wake of mass demonstrations and international pressure, five months after Chebeya’s funeral, several high-ranking officers were charged, and those who didn’t manage to flee the country were brought before a military court. The film tells the story of the eight-month trial, but it’s not the sort of courtroom documentary that we’ve become accustomed to. The proceedings appear farcical, a conspiracy of silence. It’s obvious to everyone that the witnesses are lying, seeming to follow the rule that “if you get caught red-handed, tell them it’s not our hand.” Thierry Michel sketches portraits of Chebeya and Bazana Edadi, reconstructs their last day, and speaks with their relatives. His film plays like a political thriller, showing us how often human-rights activists want for justice even after their death.