Curated by WET Film Coop and featuring three films by Belgian-Congolese film ensemble Collectif Faire-Part. After the screening WET will host a Q&A with members of Faire-Part. All films have English subtitles.
This programme touches on themes of decolonisation, resistance and collaborative filmmaking – recurring concerns for the group of four filmmakers united under the name Collectif Faire-Part. While their focus is well defined, the methods and production modes remain open to negotiation. With Paul Shemisi and Nizar Saleh based in Kinshasa, and Rob Jacobs and Anne Reijniers in Belgium, the group is constantly confronted with challenges of working across continents, and with the tangible inheritance of Belgian colonialism.
Filmed and edited collectively, Faire-Part (2019) portrays Kinshasa and its community of street artists on the day of postponed elections. While we experience the city and its resistance to the legacies of colonialism, we also observe the inner dynamics of the group discussing the essentials of filmmaking: how, what and for whom? The collective opens up a vulnerable space for negotiation and allows the viewer to witness the film taking shape. Short film L’Escale (2022) is filmed entirely from a plane window en route from Kinshasa to Germany. The work is a manifestation of the real physical distance – and dramatically different visa regimes – between members of Faire-Parte; a distance also reflected in the mode of production, with roles being more defined and the post production carried out in Belgium. Visually rigorous, the film provides space for a fiery voiceover to unravel a story of discrimination, racism and freedom of movement – or lack thereof. The most recent work, Speech for a Melting Statue, brings together ‘sister’ neighbourhoods of Matongé in Brussels and Kinshasa in an act of speculation which reverses the established logic of the West being a site of progress. Archival footage of the dismantling of colonial monuments in Kinshasa serves as an invitation to imagine a Brussels of the future.
The three films propose diverse approaches to documentary and invite us to reflect on the potentials and limitations of horizontal collaboration. While their makers come from different edges of the historical process of colonialism, they propose a courageous model of collaboration with the shared goal of decolonisation in all its forms.
60min, 2019, Belgium & Democratic Republic of Congo
On the eve of postponed Congolese elections, two Congolese and two Belgian cineastes make a film about Kinshasa and its resistance against the legacies of colonialism. The four filmmakers want to tell a story together, but having grown up on opposing sides of history, they have different views on how to tell that story. What should it look like? Who should be in it? For whom is it made?
Faire-Part is the search of four filmmakers for a way to portray the city. Through filming artistic performances in public space, they paint a provocative picture of Kinshasa and its relations with the rest of the world.
14min, 2022, Belgium
Filmmakers Paul Shemisi and Nizar Saleh travel from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Germany for the screening of their new film. During a layover in Angola, they’re stopped at the airport because the airline doesn’t believe their documents to be real. While Paul and Nizar think they are being led to a hotel, where they would stay until their flight back home, they are actually being taken to an illegal detention centre.
The filmmakers’ testimony offers an eye-opening insight into the impossibility of safe and carefree travel for Congolese artists, which stands in stark contrast to the seemingly peaceful images of cloud formations passing an aeroplane window.
Speech for a Melting Statue
10min, 2023, Belgium & Democratic Republic of Congo
In June 2020, thousands of people took to the streets in Brussels to protest against police brutality and racism in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. For a moment, it seemed that some demonstrators would take down the statue of colonial king Leopold II on a nearby square.
Archival images of colonial monuments that arrive in a museum in Kinshasa, DR Congo are paired with a ceremonial text by poet Marie Paule Mugeni. The voice-over presents the official removal of a Belgian colonial statue as if scheduled for the very next day. However, in contrast with Kinshasa, there are no concrete plans for the statues’ removal.
Collectif Faire-Part is an ensemble of Belgian & Congolese filmmakers. Together they aim to tell new stories about Kinshasa, about Brussels, and the many complex relations in between. Next to their shared practice, they try to support each other in the various stages of their personal artistic projects.
The group was founded by Anne Reijniers, Paul Shemisi, Nizar Saleh and Rob Jacobs when they first started working together in 2016. Their own complex collaboration has always been an important lens through which they try to understand the world in which they move. Over recent years the collective of four has shape-shifted into a larger group of regular collaborators in between Belgium and DR Congo, in which team composition and distribution of roles changes with each project.
WET is a Rotterdam-based collective and project space for artists’ moving image. WET provides a platform for exhibitions, screenings and workshops, with a focus on artworks which challenge existing orthodoxies, and propose alternative historical, political and aesthetic perspectives. Alongside physical events WET hosts an irregular online screening programme, accompanied by recorded interviews with artists and filmmakers.
WET was founded in 2018 by Marta Hryniuk, Erika Roux, Anna Łuczak, Nick Thomas and Sophie Bates. The group acts as a support structure for both its members and the artists with whom they work, assisting in the production of works through the exchange of labour, equipment and expertise. WET also supports non-members through its advisory program, offering focused feedback sessions for artists working with moving image practices.