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Africas, How Are You Doing with the Pain?

Africas, How Are You Doing with the Pain?

A Feature film by Raymond Depardon

Produced by Palmeraie et Désert

Release in France : 02/10/1996

  • Contents


Production and distribution (4)

Executive Producer :

Palmeraie et Désert

Film exports/foreign sales :

FTD International Cinéma

Associate producer :

Canal+ France

French distribution :



Traversing the continent, this piece snaps a picture of contemporary Africa. At first, one might be tempted to call this a road movie but, in the film's opening sequence, the director's voice-over tells us that, "its not a road movie . . . not a piece of investigative journalism . . . . But the sights and sounds of ordinary pains in Africa." "The pain" is an accumulated history, past and present, of agony and oppression; and, "How are you doing with the pain?" is for the peoples of Africa a daily greeting. The film begins with a 360 degree pan, looking out across the high ground of hope in South Africa. By way of such places as Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt, it ends with another 360 degree pan shot in the filmmaker's home in Villefranche-sur-Saône in central France. However, this film is also a conversation between images of Africa's "Pain" and the filmmaker who has seen Africa's apartheid, starvation, disease, and civil war first hand. In this sense, the film is the director's own subjective travel diary of his relationship with Africa.

© Murayama Kyoichiro


Director's Statement

In Africa, I find that people, from the north to the south, have one thing in common: their discreetness about their difficulties.

This is one example that they give us every day.

For those Africans who understand the French language, the word "pain" is used as a mere salutation to enquire whether we visitors are doing well during our stay in Africa:

"Comment ça va avec la douleur? [How are you doing with the pain?]," like a simple "Hello." Discreetness in speaking of enormous pains.

In this place, there are all sorts of pains.

So, are there big and little pains? There are certainly those of the misery of the living. Perhaps we can say that pain is more than a mere emotion, more than a mere sensation.

Pain as a "defensive reaction," as a "warning one is lucky to get," as a "delicate sensitivity, " described by our doctors, is far from the concerns of Africans.

If the memory of pain does not exist, if pain is foreign to thought, then it always remains between silence and screams.

Full credits (5)

Producer :

Claudine Nougaret

Sound recordists :

Raymond Depardon, Claudine Nougaret

Participant :

Raymond Depardon

Director of Photography :

Raymond Depardon

Editor :

Roger Ikhlef

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Sub-genre :

Research - Experimental

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

2 h 39 min

Current status :


Visa number :


Visa issue date :


Approval :


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Posters (1)


Festival Selections (2)

Berlin - Youth Film Forum - 1997

Berlin - Youth Film Forum (Germany, 1997)


Feature Film Forum