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“They often say that youth is the future. These old people have lied to us, everything is blocked.” Rafiki starts his film facing the camera with his sung voice-over. Throughout the film, protests return sometimes tinged with hope, sometimes blackened by the political corruption in which Central African youth is mired. At Bangui university, Rafiki and his friends Nestor, Aaron et Benjamin are trying their best to pass their economics degree. Here, academic knowledge is not enough: the campus in the capital, like many of the country’s institutions, is corrupt to the core. The foursome has learnt its lessons. They know how to jockey to find a seat in the overcrowded amphitheatres; how to stay away from the female students, coveted by the professors; how to sleep two to a bed in the damp dormitories, or repeat a year without giving up, despite grades that have been doctored, gone missing or withheld pending favours rather than honours. Rafiki films his friends’ daily life and has his film oscillate between a teen movie – its partying and discreet romances under the campus trees – and a caustic tract against a state from which the young no longer expect anything. Studying is tiring, and sequence after sequence, the film observes Nestor’s back as it slumps. Nestor the hard worker, Nester the tough nut, up at night to finish his equations, always ready to help his friends, and a daring opponent of fatality, has a body that is sagging. His bleary eyes finally fill with hopeless exhaustion. Rafiki responds with his film and heals with his group, and heals with the choir.
Born on november 17, 1997 in Uvira, Kivu (DRC), of Congolese parents, Fariala Alolea Albert (aka Rafiki Fariala) arrived early in the Central African Republic, where his parents took refuge because of the war. At the seminary, he directs the choir and develops his voice. Later, he falls in love with the music of Makoma, a religious group. Entirely self-taught, he starts composing music.In 2013, under the pseudonym RAFIKI – RH20, he records his first piece Why war? which becomes a hit. In 2017, he is selected to take part in the documentary workshop organised in Bangui by Ateliers Varan. At the end of the workshop, he directs his first film, Mbi na Mo (You and Me). The film is selected at the Lausanne, Montréal, St Denis and Lille festivals, and at the Biarritz FIPADOC.
MAKONGO FILMS, UNITÉ, KIRIPIFILMS
Anne-Bertille Ndeysseit Vopiande, Aaron Koyasoukpengo, Kelly Dallet
Xavier Sirven, Gilles Volta, Christian Moïse Nzengue, Daniele Incalcaterra, Boris Lojkine
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