André and Albert are two young Aka pygmies from Mongoumba (Central African Republic). They are among the few in their community to study.
For his first film, Elvis Sabin follows Albert and André, Central African Aka Pygmies, along with their community in a camp deep in the forest. They were the last of the village’s children to have attended school and have decided to transmit their knowledge by opening classes in the Pygmy villages. As forest people with unmatched gathering skills, they are counting on the caterpillar (Makongo) harvest to finance their project, but the world is against them and the film tells a tale of ill-fated heroes. The depths of the forest are never deep enough and the logics of the market and domination are all-pervasive. The film travels through a territory where everything seems to be owed – even on the edge of the world it is money that reigns. You have to negotiate, always give more, accept being swindled to obtain a little and shrug off threats and routine contempt. Because the Pygmies are shunned, disparaged and constantly stigmatised by Central African society. In the face of this, the two men’s goodness never fails and the film accompanies them without flinching, attentive to their exhausted yet never discouraged gaze, their gestures and their perseverance. They make their way, without succumbing, through the now ubiquitous individualism and domination. The village seems condemned not by the branches and endless swamps, but by contempt and the thirst for wealth, which are about to destroy what is left of community. But by seating the children on the benches and putting their heart into singing the polyphonic songs that punctuate the village days, the collective vibrates and wards off the sentence of remaining the wretched of the Earth.
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Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino, a geology graduate, had always dreamt of working in cinema. In 2012, he founded with friends the Académie du Cinéma Centrafricain, an association bringing together cinema-lovers. With limited means, he produced and made small films for Central African television, until the day his path crossed that of the Ateliers Varan, which trained him in documentary filmmaking and enabled him to shoot Docta Jefferson, the portrait of a neighbourhood pharmacist and screened at several international festivals.