What happens when a Chinese company arrives in a remote area of Africa to build a road?
Bram Van Paesschen, director of the new film “Empire of Dust”, had a rare opportunity to find out and to film the Chinese contractor’s travails – from locating construction materials to learning how to communicate with the Congolese.
DATE: March 9th
VENUE: Embassy of Belgium, Sanlitun Lu 6
ENTRANCE: free to FCCC members, 80 RMB on the door to non-members
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Lao Yang and Eddy both work for the Chinese Railway Engineering Company. They have just set up camp near the remote mining town of Kolwezi in Katanga province of the RDC. The company’s goal is to repair the road – stretching 300km – that connects Kolwezi with the provincial capital, Lubumbashi.
Lao Yang is head of logistics for his team. Using Eddy, a Congolese man who speaks fluent Mandarin, as an intermediary, Lao Yang is forced to leave the camp and deal with local Congolese entrepreneurs in search of the construction materials he needs to build the road.
What follows is an endless, harsh, but absurdly funny roller coaster of negotiations and misunderstandings, as Lao Yang learns about the Congolese way of making deals.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Bram Van Paesschen was born in 1979 in Vilvoorde, Belgium. He graduated in 2002 from Sint-Lukas in Brussels, where he specialized in film/video documentary work. He lives and works in Brussels. “Empire of Dust” is his fifth movie.