Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, May 22: WHEN CHINA MET AFRICA

Marc & Nick Francis’ look at the expansion of Chinese interests in Zambia has screened extensively since its premiere in 2010. Festival appearances have included IDFA, Margaret Mead, FESPACO, Full Frame, Encounters, Sheffield, and Rotterdam.

The makers of BLACK GOLD take a different approach to documenting globalization, focusing on African economic development by China. Their protagonists’s stories reflect the seemingly symbiotic but clearly imbalanced relationship between an economic superpower and a country rich in resources but lacking in infrastructure. On the African side is Felix Mutati, Zambia’s trade minister, leading the charge to facilitate the expansion of Chinese interests in his country, hopeful the these initiatives will provide a much needed economic boon. On the Chinese side are Mr Liu, a successful owner of multiple farms who complains of his Zambian farmhands’ work ethic; and Mr Li, an engineer contracted to complete a critical highway, but whose job is hampered by delays and budget cuts. More than a portrait of culture clash, the Francis’ smart film raises provocative questions around China’s involvement in Africa – will it benefit both, or instead lead to a form of economic colonization?


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