Colette et Justin

Director: Alain Kassanda

2022, 89min.

Language: French with English subtitles


Proving once again that the personal is political, French-Congolese documentary filmmaker Alain Kassanda set about to uncover a tumultuous time in his native Congo’s history. His method is both brilliant and unconventional: filming his grandparents as they look back on their lives under Belgian rule, rebellion, and the unavoidable complications of freedom. Kassanda mixes interviews with his family with exploitative Belgian propaganda materials, that were intent on convincing the world – and the Congolese – that the Belgians were the intrinsically superior. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this eye-opening film are the difficult stories of the early days of liberation, and where Kassanda’s grandfather stood on the rise to power of Congo’s first prime minister Patrick Lumumba, a progressive African nationalist who would face a military coup and execution. The result is a brave reckoning not only for the past, but for the present generation and how colonialism continues to shape their identities. “Informative and profound…it highlights the far-reaching wounds of colonization and offers a balm for its scars.”  – Concepción de León, New York Times.