Coming to Maysles Cinema’s Uptown Flicks series tomorrow, Thursday, April 12:
Karlovy Vary, Toronto, London, Busan, IDFA, CPH:DOX, True/False, Thessaloniki Doc, New Directors/New Films, Poland’s New Horizons, Palm Springs, Goteborg, Tokyo, Hamburg, Vienna
A young Congolese man embarks on a Sisyphean trek to sell charcoal.
Gras’ Cannes-winning observational portrait follows Kabwita Kasongo, a 28-year-old man, as he faces the arduous task of not only making charcoal, but transporting it to market over 30 miles away by balancing it precariously on an old bicycle, pushing it most of the way during the three-day journey. Forced to confront Kasongo’s back-breaking tasks without much of a sense of his personality or background, the viewer gains an almost palpable, immersive sense of the level of poverty and economic exploitation of which he’s just one small part.