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 byJoël Karekezi
Produced byAurélien Bodinaux
Screenplay byJoël Karekezi
Casey Schroen
Aurélien Bodinaux
StarringMarc Zinga
Stéphane Bak
Ibrahim Ahmed "Pino"
Nirere Shanel
Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga
Michael Wawuyo
Music byLine Adam
Nirere Shanel
CinematographyJoachim Philippe
Edited byAntoine Donnet
Release date
  • 8 September 2018 (2018-09-08) (Toronto)
Running time
91 minutes

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.[1]


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
Year Award Category Received by Result Ref
2020 Magritte Awards Best Actor Marc Zinga Nominated [2]
2019 Africa Movie Academy Awards Best Achievement in Production Design Genevieve Leyh Nominated [3][4][5][6][7]
Best Achievement in Make-Up Shakira Kibirige
Rose Kebirungi
Daphine Kateregga
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 Cinematography Nominated
Best Film Joël Karekezi Won
Best Director Nominated
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) Etalon d’Or de Yennenga Won [8]
2018 Khouribga African Film Festival Best Screenplay Joël Karekezi
Casey Schroen
Aurelien Bodinaux
Won [9]
Best Supporting Actor Won


  1. ^ "Fespaco: Le film "The mercy of the jungle" du rwandais Joël Karekezi remporte l'Etalon d'or". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ Bradfer, Fabienne (8 January 2020). ""Duelles" et "Le jeune Ahmed" en tête des nominations des Magritte". Le Soir (in French). Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  3. ^ "#AMAA2019: Winners Emerge At Africa Movie Academy Awards". Channels TV. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  4. ^ Bada, Gbenga. "AMAA 2019: Here are all the winners at the 15th edition of movie award". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  5. ^ Nseyen, Nsikak. "AMAA releases nominees for 2019 awards [FULL LIST]". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  6. ^ "JUST IN: AMAA releases nominations list for 2019". Tribune Online Nigeria. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA Awards) 2019 Nominees". Nigeria News Update. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  8. ^ ""The Mercy of the Jungle" wins top prize at the Fespaco film festival". Afro Tourism. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  9. ^ Opobo, Moses. "'The Mercy of the Jungle' scoops two continental film awards". The New Times. Retrieved 26 March 2019.