Traditional grub feeds a community’s future in Makongo. This quietly effective observational film by Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino explores two men’s desire to provide children with the access to education that they enjoyed. Ngaïbino follows the efforts of Albert and André, who are among the few members of their Pygmy village to have received formal educations. They recognize that the world is changing and that the children should enjoy proper schooling as well to ensure the survival of the community. Resources, however, are scarce, so Albert and André devise a fundraiser based on traditional hunter-gatherer skills to harvest the local delicacy—caterpillars—and sell roasted bugs by the tub in the nearby village.
Pat Mullen, Point of View Magazine
Filmed with great confidence (some of the sequence shots depicting forest wanderings are particularly outstanding) and conveying to a tee the omnipresent aural landscape of the jungle, Makongo is a fascinating, ethnographic examination of a nigh-on autarkic community (whose dramas and exultations are experienced collectively) and its links with a world dominated by money. But it’s also a charming portrait of two young messengers on a mission, armed with innocence and resourcefulness.
Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa