The Mercy of the Jungle
The Mercy of the Jungle (French: La Miséricorde de la Jungle) is a 2018 internationally co-produced film from Rwandan director Joël Karekezi. It tells the story of two Rwandan soldiers separated from their military unit at the beginning of the Second Congo War and their struggle to survive in a hostile jungle environment amidst intense armed conflict.
|The Mercy of the Jungle|
|Directed by||Joël Karekezi|
|Produced by||Aurélien Bodinaux|
|Screenplay by||Joël Karekezi|
Ibrahim Ahmed "Pino"
Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga
|Music by||Line Adam|
|Edited by||Antoine Donnet|
The film's festival debut was at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2018 and marks the second feature from Karakezi. The film was selected among TIFF's Discovery series lineup; Stéphane Bak, one of the two leads, was selected as one of eight rising stars at the festival. The film is slated to appear at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur in Belgium. On 20 November, it had its Rwandan premiere at the 2018 European Film Festival (EFF) in Kigali. The film won the Golden Stallion at FESPACO.
War-weary Sergeant Xavier (Marc Zinga) and fresh recruit Private Faustin (Bak) are accidentally separated from their Rwandan battalion inside Congolese territory when it is called out suddenly on nighttime raid. They face a lack of water, food, and threats from malarial fever and jungle wildlife. The two seek to reunite with the battalion by heading westward but must remain wary of interacting with the local population given Congolese antipathy to the Rwandan Army and the presence of irregular rebel factions.
At first the older Xavier is gruff and demanding toward the young private Faustin but a deep bond eventually develops between the two men, especially as Faustin makes critical contributions toward their survival. The film is interspersed with meditations on the horrors that have befallen the region and wider questions of meaning and mercy in times of war. Xavier is particularly haunted by the atrocities he has both witnessed and committed while Faustin is motivated by the murder of his family and a young wife he wishes to see again.
Eventually choosing to impersonate Congolese soldiers themselves, the two manage to fall in with a group of villagers who show them kindness and aid. The movie's various plot threads—pursuing rebels, reunification with the war, and the personal journeys of the two men—converge at the film's conclusion.
The Mercy of the Jungle was produced in Belgium by Aurélien Bodinaux through Neon Rouge Productions. Bodinaux, Karekezi, and Casey Schroen are credited with the screenplay. Tact Productions from France and Perfect Shot Films from Germany are listed as co-producers. Filming took place in Uganda.
|Awards & Nominations|
|2020||Magritte Awards||Best Actor||Marc Zinga||Nominated|||
|2019||Africa Movie Academy Awards||Best Achievement in Production Design||Genevieve Leyh||Nominated|||
|Best Achievement in Make-Up||Shakira Kibirige
|Best Achievement in Soundtrack||Line Adam||Nominated|
|Best Achievement in Editing||Antoine Donnet||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Leading Role||Marc Zinga||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Won|
|Best Film||Joël Karekezi||Won|
|Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO)||Etalon d’Or de Yennenga||Won|||
|2018||Khouribga African Film Festival||Best Screenplay||Joël Karekezi
|Best Supporting Actor||Won|
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- Anya Wassenberg (18 September 2018). "Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda". Okay Africa. Retrieved 22 September 2018.