Mobutu, King of Zaire

Thierry Michel & 136' — 1999

Of all the human passions, the appetite for domination is the most inebriating. 
 St. Augustin. The ultimate “African King”, Joseph Désiré Mobutu was one of the oldest, most tenacious dictators that came to power as a result of the Cold War and decolonisation. November 1965. With the help of the CIA, Mobutu launched a coup d’ état and seized power in the former Belgian Congo. He renamed the country “Zaïre” and imposed on his people a peace based on fear, violence, and repression. In less than 25 years, this young sergeant of the colonial army became one of the most feared, wealthiest men in the world. He sided with the West and built a pyramid of autocratic, predatory power, held in place by money. He handed out favours and disgrace, and was the absolute ruler of the ruins of a country ravaged by corruption. Mobutu, King of Zaire is the story of one man’s exceptional destiny built on ambition and grandeur, betrayal and cowardice, a character worthy of the great Shakespearean tragedies.


Production: Les Films de la Passerelle
Coproduction: Image Création, Les Films d’Ici, RTBF Liège, VRT/ CANVAS, CBA
With the support of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Commission européenne, Eurimages, Media II

Thierry Michel
Thierry Michel
Alain Marcoen, Joël Marcipont, Didier Hill Derive
Fabian Habari, André Brugmans
Image editor
Marine Deleu
Jacques Clisse
Les Films de la Passerelle (Christine Pireaux)
Image Format
Sound Format
Color, BW
Languages OV
Available subtitles

Festival de Douarnenez, France, 08/2018

Festival Résistances, France, 07/2003
Au bonheur des docs, France 10/2003

Tokyo African Film Festival, Japan, 10/2002

French Festival, USA, 02/2001
Festival TEBESSA, Algeria, 03/2001
Afrikanisches FilmFestival, Germany, 06/2001
Französische Filmtage Tübingen, Germany, 10/2001
Mois du Film Documentaire, France, 11/2001
Ressegna di Cinema Africano, Italy, 11/2001

Festival International de Bruxelles, Belgium, 01/2000
Rencontres de Manosque, France, 01/2000
Africa Alive 2000, Germany, 01/2000
regard sur le documentaire de la Communauté française, Canada, 03/2000
Festival International du Film de Kerala, India, 03/2000
The Washington DC International Film Festival, USA, 04/2000
DocAviv, Israël, 05/2000
FilmInitiative, Germany, 05/2000
Festival Bucarest, Romania, 05/2000
Festival Seattle, USA, 05/2000
Festival Madrid, Spain, 05/2000
Ethnofilmfest, Germany, 06/2000
New Zealand Film Festival, New Zealand, 07/2000
Rhode Island International Film Festival Providence, USA, 08/2000
Journées du Cinéma Africain, France, 09/2000
Southern African Film Festival, Zimbabwe, 09/2000
Lagunimages, Benin, 10/2000
RECAN, Nigeria, 10/2000
Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia, 10/2000
Festival Jakarta, Indonesia, 11/2000
African Diaspora Film Festival, USA, 11/2000
Festival International du Film Ethnographique, United Kingdom, 12/2000

FESPACO, Burkina Faso, 03/1999
Festival du Cinéma Africain, Italy, 03/1999
Visions du Réel, Switzerland, 04/1999
Rencontre Media nord/sud, Switzerland, 05/1999
Hot Docs, Canada, 05/1999
DOK.fest München, Germany, 05/1999
Festival de Freiburg, Germany, 05/1999
Vues d’Afrique, Canada, 05/1999 – Mention d’Honneur
Festival International du Film de Cannes – Sélection “Noir, Black, Négra”, France, 05/1999
Festival International d’Innsbruck, Austria, 06/1999
Festival Terre Africaine, Cameroon, 06/1999
Sunny Side of the Docs, France, 06/1999
Festival vue sur les docs, France, 06/1999
Etats Généraux du film documentaire de Lussas, France, 08/1999
Festival des Films du Monde, Canada, 08/1999
Le nombre d’or International Widescreen Festival, The Netherlands, 09/1999
Festival do Rio, Brazil, 09/1999
Festival International de Vancouver, Canada, 09/1999
Denver International Film Festival, USA, 10/1999
New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, USA, 10/1999
International Documentary Association, USA, 10/1999
Festival Films from the South, Norway, 10/1999
Cork Film Festival, Ireland, 10/1999
Festival Sao Paulo, Brazil, 10/1999
2ème Semaine du documentaire de Création Européen, France, 10/1999
London Film Festival, United Kingdom, 11/1999
Recidak Dakar, Senegal, 11/1999
Amascultura, Portugal, 11/1999
Calcutta Film Festival, India, 11/1999
Festival du Film d’Histoire de Pessac, France 11/1999
Margaret Mead, USA, 11/1999
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), The Netherlands, 11/1999
Traces de Vies, France, 11/1999
Festival Cap Town, South Afrika, 11/1999
Festival de Film de la Diaspora Africain, USA, 12/1999
Festival Essay International, The Netherlands, 12/1999
European Film Awards, Germany, 12/1999 – Mention spéciale

Cessions :
2008 : VRT (Belgique)

Awards and Mentions

European Film Awards (Germany) – Mention spéciale 1999
Vues d’Afrique (Canada) – Mention d’Honneur 1999

Other films from Thierry Michel

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