Pieces d’identites (Pieces of Identity)

Director: Mweze Ngangura
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Belgium
Year: 1998
Running Time: 94 min
Language: French with English subtitles

Pieces d'identites (Pieces of Identity), Mweze Ngangura, Congo/Belgium, 1998, 93 min.
Ngangura’s deceptively picaresque adventure reveals some troubling issues encountered by people in the ever-widening African diaspora of the late 20th century. Mani Kongo, the venerable king of the Bakongo, sets out alone on a quest for his long-lost daughter, Mwana, who he sent to Belgium to study medicine. As soon as he leaves his village and enters Westernized society, he begins to lose the semblances of his identity and tradition to bureaucrats, thieves, and foolery. Mwana is played by Jean-Louis Daulne, composer of the film’s infectious soundtrack which includes a cameo by Papa Wemba. The multiplicity of roles and names each of the characters adopts adds to the confusion about identity explored in Mwana’s story.

About the Director

Ngangura Mwezé

mwezeBiography: Ngangura Mwezé was born in Bukavu, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on 7 October 1950. At the age of twenty he won a scholarship to go to Belgium and study at the Institut des arts de diffusion, graduating in 1975. While a student he made two short films, Tamtam électronique (1973) and Rhythm and Blood (1975). Returning to Zaire in 1976 he became a lecturer at three colleges in Kinshasa: the National Institute of Arts (INA), Institute of Science and Information Technologies (ISTI) and Studio-School of the Voice of Zaire (SEVOZA). For ten years Ngangura Mwezé made TV documentaries in Zaire. He made his first documentary, Chéri-Samba, in 1980, a portrait of a popular young painter from Kinshasa. His next work Kin Kiesse ou les Joies douces-amères de Kinshasa-la-Belle (1982) documents the sweet and sour pleasures of Kinshasa la Belle. Kin Kiesse won prizes in Ouagadougou (FESPACO ’83), Hammamet (CIRTEF ’83), and was selected for INPUT ’86 in Montreal. In 1985, returning to Europe, Ngangura Mwezé worked on the scenario of Life Is Rosy (La vie est belle, released in 1987) with funding from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

– AFF, Inc.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Life Is Rosy [La vie est belle] (1994 – Benoît Lamy, Ngangura Mwezé);
Identity Pieces [Pièces d’identités] (2000).

Tamtam électronique (1973);
Rhythm and Blood (1975);
Chéri-Samba (1980);
Kin Kiesse ou les Joies douces-amères de Kinshasa-la-Belle (1982);
Life Is Rosy [La vie est belle] (1987 – Benoît Lamy, Ngangura Mwezé);
Changa-Changa, Rythmes en noirs et blancs (1992);
Le Roi, la Vache et le Bananier, chronique d’un retour au Royaume de Ngweshe (1994);
Lettre à Makura : les derniers Bruxellois (1995);
Le Général Tombeur (1997);
Identity Pieces [Pièces d’identités] (1998);
Au nom de mon père (2001);
The Governor’s New Clothes (2004);
Shégués, les enfants de la jungle urbaine (2008);
Tu n’as rien vu à Kinshasa (2010).

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