Fiche Film
LONG Métrage | 2011
Empire of Dust
Pays concerné : République démocratique du Congo
Durée : 77 minutes
Genre : politique
Type : documentaire


Une enquête aux tonalités parfois hilarants sur la relation solide comme un roc entre Chinois et Congolais durant la restauration d’une route au Congo RDC.

Lao Yang est chinois. Eddy est congolais et parle couramment le mandarin. Tous deux travaillent pour une compagnie chinoise chargée de construire une route entre Kolwezi et Lubumbashi, capitale de la province du Katanga. A travers les vicissitudes du chantier, Bram Van Paesschen capte avec une malice virtuose la comédie parfois cruelle des relations entre nouveaux conquérants et anciens colonisés.

Un film documentaire de Bram van Paesschen, 2011, Belgique, 1h17 min

Réalisateur : Bram Van Paesschen – Belgique

Savage Film
Bart Van Langendonck bart[at]savagefilm[dot]be
Bruxelles – Belgique
Email: [email protected]

World Sales
Maelle Guenegues

2012 | Visions du Réel, Nyon, Suisse
* Section: Etat d’Esprit


An occasionally hilarious report on the rocky relationship between the Chinese and the Congolese during the restoration of a road in Congo.

Lao Yang is Chinese. Eddy is Congolese and speaks fluent Mandarin. The pair work for a company commissioned to build a road between Kolwesi and Lubumbashi, capital of the Katanga province. Following the construction work, Bram Van Paesschen captures with impish virtuosity the sometimes cruel comedy of relations between new colonizers and former colonized.

The Chinese Railway Engineering Company has descended upon the Democratic Republic of the Congo to restore the road between Kolwezi and Lubumbashi. As Head of Logistics, Loa Yan is responsible for the building materials. His interpreter is a Congolese named Eddy. The government is supposed to provide the materials, but it is not coming through on its promises. This means that the Chinese are forced to deal with local companies, all of which have their own agendas and ways of working. The film follows this illustrious duo through the never-ending process of absurd negotiations. It is not only the language barrier that complicates things; the cultural differences in particular make any kind of cooperation almost impossible. The Chinese, who have flown in just for the project, often talk about the Congolese in blatantly racist terms, and the Congolese in turn seem reluctant to lift a finger for their Chinese bosses. All of which drives Loa Yan to distraction. The big boss is due to visit, and the road is nowhere near finished. Recurring excerpts from a local radio show give a crystal clear commentary on the developments. In the beginning, the DJ still refers to « our Chinese friends, » but as time goes on his view of the Asian visitors sours markedly. This occasionally hilarious report of a less than stable working relationship also reflects the unstoppable rise of China.

A film by Bram van Paesschen, 2011, Belgium, 77 min

Director: Bram van Paesschen
Photography: Emmanuel Gras
Editing: Bram van Paesschen, Dieter Diependaele
Sound: Jeroen Van der Stock, Pieter Deweirdt, Yves De Mey
Production: Bart van Langendonck for Savage Film
Involved TV: Channel RTBF

Savage Film
Bart Van Langendonck bart[at]savagefilm[dot]be
Bruxelles – Belgium
Email: [email protected]

World Sales
Maelle Guenegues

IDFA 2011

Visions du Réel 2012
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