Country: GABON, REPUBLIC OF CENTRAL AFRICA, FRANCE
Run Time: 93 minutes
"You do not believe your first pygmy when you see him," wrote the traveler Negley Farson. This diminutive forest people remain known to westerners mostly via circus stereotypes and Ripley's Believe It or Not. Believe in THE FOREST, a drama starring Eriq Ebouane, whose commanding lead in the biopic "Lumumba" (25th CIFF, 2001) made him Africa's equivalent of Denzel Washington. He plays Gonaba, a European-educated school inspector who finds his progressive ideals ineffective in reforming urban Gabon's political lassitude. He ventures deep in the jungle to give the gifts of his intellect to "liberate" the pygmy tribes, who still suffer persecution and exclusion. At least Gonaba thinks they do. The pygmies think they are free enough already; it's the "tall person" in their midst who needs to learn ancestral ways and rituals. As Gonaba fails to teach pygmy children an alphabet, he falls in love with a native girl and the clan's animist beliefs. And the real lessons begin.
Didier Ou?nangar?, Bassek Ba Kobhio (based on the novel by Etienne Goyemid
Charles Mensah, Annie Izoungou, Abderrahmane Sissako, Guillaume De Seille
Eriq Ebouaney, Sonia Zembourou, Nad?ge Beausson-Diagne, Philippe Maury, the pygmies of the Akunen Village