Balthasar

LES PORTEURS / DE DRAGERS /THE PORTERS

a film by Sarah Vanagt - 31 min, B&W and colour, 2022


An elephant's bone to stir in the food, a feather to catch winged termites at night, eight butterflies, a rope made from fragrant roots, 150 metres of exposed but not yet developed film destined for the Ministry of Colonies...

In THE PORTERS, young people in Brussels, with many different backgrounds and horizons, sit together on benches in parks. On their phones they watch the oldest preserved film footage of the Congo: silent documentary images shot by a Belgian military attaché, Armand Hutereau, during a colonial expedition in the northeast of Congo between 1911 and 1913.

The aim of the trip was to collect as many objects as possible for the new Congo Museum in Tervuren (Belgium). The word collect is a typical colonial euphemism and in the French-speaking discourse of the time even the word “récolter “is used, to harvest.

In THE PORTERS, groups of Brussels youth play a game based on the objects that were brought to Belgium, they listen to the songs of the porters, the countless anonymous men who carried the more than 8,000 objects on their bare shoulders. From the heart of Brussels' parks, the kids palm the spoils.

Credits

French and Dutch spoken

Subtitles: English, French, Dutch and French+Dutch

Camera

Ruben Desiere / Jonathan Wannyn

Sound

Gedeon Depauw / Kwinten Van Laethem

Editing

Effi Weiss

Sound design & mix

Philippe Ciompi

Post-production supervision

Julien Sigalas / Stempel

Colour grading

Loup Brenta / Cobalt

Produced by

Balthasar / Sarah Vanagt

Michigan Films / Alice Lemaire & Sébastien Andres

Co-produced by

CBA – Centre de l’audiovisuel à Bruxelles / Javier Packer Comyn


With the support of:

The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)

Centre du Cinéma de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

VGC – Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie / Cultuur

VGC – Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie / Erfgoed

Cinematek – Royal Belgian Film Archive