Empire of Dust
Dir. Bram Van Paesschen
Belgium, 2011, 77 min.
Mandarin, Swahili, French & English w/ English subtitles
Lao Yang and Eddy both work for a company called CREC (Chinese Railway Engineering Company). They have just set up camp near the remote mining town of Kolwezi in Congo's Katanga province. The goal of the company is to redo the road - covering 300km - that connects Kolwezi with the capital of the province Lubumbashi. Lao Yang is head of logistics of the group. With his Congolese translator, Eddy, Lao attempts to procure equipment, building materials and food from local Congolese entrepreneurs. What follows is a harsh, but light-hearted roller coaster of negotiations, misunderstandings, and culture clash.
Born in Vilvoorde, Belgium, filmmaker Bram Van Paesschen graduated in 2002 from Sint-Lukas in Brussels, specializing in documentary film and video. He lives and works in Brussels.