BERLIN 1885: LA RUEE SUR L’AFRIQUE / BERLIN 1885: THE DIVISION OF AFRICA

SYNOPSIS
An exemplary documentary that exposes one of the most ignominious—and little-studied—events of the past 130 years, Joël Calmettes’s film chronicles the Berlin Conference on Africa. At this meeting, held at Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s official residence in Berlin, the major European countries and the US divided up the vast continent for their own personal gain, setting in motion the ruinous colonization of Africa that continued for the next several decades. No Africans, as the movie sharply points out, were invited to participate in the proceedings that would so irrevocably, disastrously change the fate of their land. Plunging the viewers into you-are-there immediacy, Berlin 1885 includes several scenes of reenactments of this infamous conference, with actors, in period costume, speaking lines culled from actual transcripts and recently discovered archival documents. Augmenting these adroit re-creations are the insights of scholars and historians from around the world, each speaking lucidly about the implications of carving up Africa so that Western nations could exploit its vast resources.

“A film well carried through, with a rhythm given by the chapters and the addition of some very instructive perspectives (…) The fiction-documentary by Joël Calmettes, a moment of outstanding television, would perfectly find its place in numerous history classes in high school and college.”
Le Monde

DIRECTOR
Joël Calmettes

SCREENPLAY
Joël Calmettes

CAST
Otto von Bismarck: Jacques Spiesser
Baron de Courcel: Pierre-Loup Rajot
Comte de Hatzfeldt: Carlo Brandt
Sir Malet: Pierre Banderet
Docteur Ballay: Fabrice Michel

GENRE Docudrama
LANGUAGE French, German, English
RUNNING TIME 85’
PRODUCTION France, Belgium, Germany, 2010
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) Digibeta, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Icarus Films