While he was preparing this documentary feature about the: white population still living in Zaire, Thierry Michel was arrested, sent to Gail and then expulsed from the country. So because of the lack of a professional filming he decided to use the video pictures he look himself during his previous trips during which he kept a logbook.
THE LAST COLONIALS is an intense and tragic film, but not without humour about the white population still living in Zaire. It depicts some key characters and spotlights of their life as expatriates in Zaire.
Whether they are adventurers, predators or builders, there are still a few thousands of "Last Colonials" living in this country which used to be called the Belgian Congo. They are managers, missionaries, businessmen and land owners who settled in the heart of Africa. They decided to remain there in spite of the violence, the danger and sometimes fright.
They look back on the "good old days of the colonial era" and live through the havoc of what they once thought would be a new Eduardo. Some are heavily armed and others wait for a recolonization which could very well never occur.
Thierry Michel filmed this slow political and economic suffocation characterized by riots and pillages. He witnessed the massive exodus of expatriates and the end of the Whiteman's dream in black Africa.
Through interviews of these "Last Colonials", we discover the state of a country on the verge of bankrupted after having been independent for 35 years and under a dictatorship for a quarter of a century.
They are managers, missionaries, businessmen and landowners who chose to settle in the heart of Africa, and who remain there in spite of the violence and danger. In this film, they reminisce on the "good old days of the colonial era" when they came to settle what was then the Belgian Congo, and reveal how their dreams were shattered in a land that might have been the new El Dorado. Nonetheless, they maintain their stakes as they await a "recolonization."
"A strong portrayal of the last of the Belgian colonists living in Zaire, giving necessary background to a country in crisis."-Telerama (Paris)
✮1995 Margaret Mead Film Festival
✮1995 FESPACO, Pan-African Film Festival (Burkina Faso)