Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  86 minutes
Date:  2012
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; French; Italian / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Black Africa White Marble

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Through the conflict over raising a monument to honor the Italian explorer Petro di Brazza, BLACK AFRICA WHITE MARBLE shines a harsh light on central Africa's colonial past and troubled present.

Black Africa White Marble

Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, is the only African capital to retain the name of a European: Pietro Savorgnan di Brazza, the Italian-born explorer who set out for Central Africa in 1875.

In spite of the fact that Brazza's efforts lead to the establishment of a French colony, he is still revered in Congo as a model of European-African relations that stands in contrast to Henry Stanley, who claimed a neighboring section of the Congo region for Belgium.

Using an innovative blend of animation, puppetry, archival material, and original documentary footage, BLACK AFRICA WHITE MARBLE traces Brazza's incredible original journey through the Congo, but the focus is a present-day David-and-Goliath story centered on Brazza's common European and African descendents.

A century after Brazza's suspicious death, Sassou Nguesso, the President of the Republic of Congo, plans to transfer the explorer's remains from his grave in Algiers to a multi-million dollar marble mausoleum in Congo's impoverished capital.

However, one woman stands in the way.

Idanna Pucci, Brazza's Italian descendent, was initially excited by this tribute to her ancestor. But when she visits Congo, Pucci discovers an insidious hidden agenda behind the plans. Touring the country, she witnesses first-hand how Congolese citizens suffer at the hands of the corrupt Nguesso government. Worse still, she uncovers that at the heart of Nguesso's plan is an attempt to marginalize King Makoko, spiritual leader of the Bateke people, with whom Brazza had been particularly close. Unable to ignore these injustices-and not wanting to see Brazza's legacy marred by association with Nguesso's worst excesses-Pucci unites her relatives in a plan to make the memorial benefit the Congolese people, and restore authority to King Makoko.

With this story, BLACK AFRICA, WHITE MARBLE sheds a harsh light on Central Africa's colonial past and its troubled present in all of their fascinating complexities.

'Brilliant! A riveting, powerful, beautifully made film. As history, as betrayal, as a family story with operatic twists and turns. This film has it all-and it is magical!' -Joanna Molloy, New York Daily News

'Terrific. A wonderful film.' -D.A. Pennebaker, filmmaker

'I loved it. An eclectic and wonderful film. And history I was happy to learn.' -Walter Murch, film editor and sound designer


** Grand Prix of Documentary, 2012 Festival Annecy Cinema Italien (France)
** 2012 African Film Festival New York, Film Society at Lincoln Center
** 2012 Festival del Cinema Africano-Asia-America Latina (Italy)
** 2012 Mostra de Cinema Internacionale (Brazil)
** 2012 African Studies Association Conference


Main credits

Bicocchi, Clemente (Director)
Ward, Terence (Producer)

Other credits

Camera, Clemente Bicocchi, Giancarlo Cammerini, Terence Ward; editing, Clemente Bicocchi, Terence Ward; music, People Gabon; La Choral Huerfanos; shadow and puppet theatre, Mariano Dolci with Maurizio Barcaglioni ... [et al.]; music improvisation, Nanni Canale; voices, Massimo Malucelli; animation, Paolo Moretti.

Distributor credits

Directed by Clemente Bicocchi
Produced by Terence Ward and Fourlab

Docuseek2 subjects

Republic of Congo
African History
Human Rights
International Relations and Geopolitics
African Studies

Distributor subjects

Conflict Resolution
Cultural Studies
History (World)
Human Rights
Republic of Congo


Republic of Congo; Pietro Savorgnan di Brazza; Brazzaville; Colonialism; Italy; Idanna Pucci; Bateke; King Makoko; Central Africa; "Black Africa White Marble"; Icarus Films;

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