About Caterpillars/Makongo

Two Aka Pygmies from the Central African Republic sell roasted caterpillars in the city, using the proceeds to improve education in their communities. They know exactly where and when to catch the insects and make a good living from what nature has to offer. However, these skills and knowledge are of little use to them in the concrete jungle, where they are as overwhelmed and uncomfortable as city dwellers would be in their forest village. And while there is plenty of demand for their local delicacy, no one seems willing to pay a fair price for it. In their fight against illiteracy, the two young fathers also serve as teachers, and the children’s eagerness to drink in knowledge is moving. Makongo provides a powerful observation of universal themes such as discrimination, exclusion, individualization, and altruism. [73 min; documentary; Sango, Akan, and French with English subtitles]

This screening will feature an introduction by IU doctoral student Claire Fouchereaux and a Q&A with Joshua Malitsky (The Media School, Center for Documentary Research and Practice), filmmaker Joseph Gaï Ramaka, and Eileen Julien (Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature and French and Italian).

Joseph Gaï Ramaka is a Senegalese director, screenwriter, and producer who has been a key figure in African film industries for more than 30 years. His film And What If Latif Was Right won Best Documentary Film Award at the Vues d'Afrique Festival – Montreal (2006). His work has screened widely, including at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival. He established the New Orleans Afrikan Film Festival in 2007, and in 2013, he created Gorée Island Cinema, a space for encounters and cinematographic creations, which has presented the Gorée Cinema Festival since 2015.

Eileen Julien is Professor Emerita in Comparative Literature and French and Italian at IU. Her work focuses on literature and culture in Africa and the Americas, their historical and cultural ties and divergences, and the factors of colonialism, decolonization, and contemporary political and economic processes.

Any film screened at IU Cinema may contain content that viewers find sensitive or upsetting. Visit our Audience Advisories page to learn more.

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