Dieudo Hamadi - True/False Film Fest Dieudo Hamadi - True/False Film Fest

Dieudo Hamadi


Dieudo Hamadi’s films capture situations so absurdly bleak that your gut response might be to let out a few uncomfortable, pitch-black chuckles. His debut, “Ladies in Waiting” (2009, co-directed with Divita Wa Lusala), observes young mothers who are trapped in a Kinshasa maternity ward, unable to leave until they settle their debts, which increase with each passing day. In National Diploma (2014), young Kisangani scholars, desperate to pass a high-stakes exam, head to church for pen blessings and exorcisms. Mama Colonel (2017) finds a tenacious police officer begging aloof crowds for anything — a banana, a piece of coal — for neglected rape victims. In all his work, Hamadi observes how humans respond to systems that are rigged against them, particularly when they decide to face them together. He is perpetually attentive to group dynamics and to the extraordinary energy of communal spaces. Invariably, his camera will land in a heated crowd and study the electric debate that unfolds, a dizzying mix of agendas at play. His films thrum with chaotic energy. True/False’s only prize, the True Vision Award, is given to a mid-career filmmaker for advancing the art of nonfiction cinema. At 34, Hamadi is the youngest director to receive the recognition. His unflinching observational camera draws from documentary tradition, but his editing techniques point towards the future. He thrusts us into the world of many conflicting realities, where valiant humans find themselves literally pleading to an uncaring market. Hamadi refuses to flatten those realities. He vividly and persistently captures the confusion, submerging us in it, but by sticking alongside the righteous to the bitter end, his art dignifies truth.