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rédacteur
Mwenda wa Micheni
publié le
26/02/2019
films, artistes, structures ou événements liés à cette critique
les commentaires liés à cette critique

Mwenda wa Micheni is Writer at Africiné Magazine


Joël Karekezi, Rwandan filmmaker


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A witty foray into Congo's complicated wars
The Mercy of the Jungle, by Joel Karekezi, Rwanda
French Release: 24 April 2019 (Urban Distribution International).



After losing their way following their regiment's leaving without them in the deep of the night, an army Sergeant, Xavier, and a greenhorn private simply named Faustin land into unfamiliar territory in the thickets where they also encounter rivals ready for a tackle. But they won't just give up. Instead, they switch into survival mode to keep alive and do everything to find their way back to the troops from which they have been cut off.
In some needy instance, they feed on wild delicacies they would ordinarily disregard on good days and also turn to ingenious tactics like wearing rival uniforms. When the determined sergeant takes a sip of piss, it's a relief to the audience.
But on the other hand, it paints a picture of desperation with very few choices the duo have when they are at the mercy of the elements.






It is that love hate relationship with the jungle that underpins where they find themselves. As they run from Congolese rebels, it is the thick jungle that embraces and hides them.
Yet it is the same jungle that chokes the life out of them as they struggle to survive. Facing malaria, the elements, silver backed mountai gorillas, will they make it back to the team and live another day? After the dark hour, comes some short lived relief when the pair finally lands into familiar territory. Even then, they still face a dilemma on how to re-enter camp without provoking friendly fire. Served with a pinch of comical relief, the story easily transports the viewer into the groves of the never ending Congo wars, painting the deep suffering thousands face in the resource rich country.
In this case, the rebels seem to control a patch of the area featured a common place occurrence in the Congo where they are several militia controlled areas. Exploitation of resources and use of child labour in these areas are part of the rebel survival tactic, which complicates the issue even further. These are explored in the movie in subtle storytelling nuances.

The presence of foreign troops in the Congo is also alluded to but not thoroughly explored as the director seems preoccupied with a peaceful co-existence in an environment poisoned by rivalry.
The struggles of the army men mostly sweating it out in the forest show the challenge of having tonavigate through the labyrinth of the crisis and also bring out complexity of multiple Congo wars.

In the movie shot entirely in Uganda, terror is palpable as portrayed by the tormenting sounds of the thickets. The blood stains and bouts of fever also add to the bigger picture, building tension that holds the viewer's attention to the end. The mental health dilemma of posttraumatic stress disorder and the loss of war are also adequately addressed. Faustin yearns for a reunion with his pregnant wife and healing after the massacre of his family at the hands of the rebels. On the other hand, Xavier has witnessed horrors of war and more poignantly been responsible for atrocities himself. He is thus haunted by death at the peak of his malaria related fever.
At the end, the aura of a strong chemistry between the two is difficult to ignore and can almost be smelled permeating from the big screen! Cleverly weaved together, Mercy of the Jungle doesn't scream its intention. Instead, it leaves the imagination to piece things together in order to fully comprehend the filmmaker's intention, hence making it an adventure through a complicated affair.
The movie easily fits in the new Rwandan wave that seems to attempt to stretch the post genocide narrative that has dominated the country's screen attempts due to its historical significance.

Micheni Mwenda (Kenya)

Africiné, The Magazine of the African Federation of Film Critic (AFFC / FACC) - www.africine.org

Africiné Magazine issue no.1 - Monday 25 February 2019, page 2 - FESPACO 2019 /// 26th edition

This magazine is published by the Fédération Africaine de la Critique Cinématographique (FACC). The publication was made possible thanks to the support of La Francophonie, Africalia Belgium, the Goethe-Institut and Ascric-B. It is produced by a collective of 42 African journalists from 23 countries.

Director of Publication : Khalil Demmoun

Editorial committee
Sid-Lamine Salouka
Abraham Bayili
Ahmed Shawky
Robert Mukondiwa
Fatou Kiné Sene
Pélagie N'Gonana
Charles Ayetan
Yacouba Sangaré
Espéra Donouvossi

Layout: Korotimi Sérémé

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   liens films

Miséricorde de la jungle (La) | Mercy of the Jungle (The) 2018
Joël Karekezi


   liens artistes

Baha Oualid


Bak Stéphane


Bodinaux Aurélien


Desperado Pino


Gahigiri Kantarama


Karekezi Joël


Nirere Ruth


Schroen Casey


Zinga Marc


   vnements

23/02/2019 > 02/03/2019
festival |Burkina Faso |
FESPACO 2019 (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou)
26e édition. Cinquantenaire.

24/04/2019 > 30/06/2019
projection |France |
Sortie Nationale du film LA MISÉRICORDE DE LA JUNGLE
La miséricorde de la jungle de Joël Karekezi au cinéma le 24 avril

   liens structures

Africiné Magazine
Sénégal | Dakar

Karekezi Film Production
Rwanda | KIGALI

Néon Rouge Production
Belgique | Bruxelles

Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF)
France | PARIS

Tact Production
France | Montreuil

Urban Distribution
France | Montreuil

Urban Distribution International
France | MONTREUIL

World Cinema Fund (WCF)
Allemagne | BERLIN

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