Un jour à Goma – Vlisco for Africa
The key concept while making this film was to establish and keep a relation between visual and spoken narration. A choice was made to create short stories to illustrate the interview, rather than fitting together patchy sequences. The actual interview with its own video has only been shown twice. The goal was to achieve a refined, unconventional and effective narration style.
The first three images appropriately represent what it is described above: they may seem unusual but they summarize trip from Europe to Africa, and Kigali in particular. Mrs Gieskes’ narration guides us, and when she says “I started…” we start seeing the images of a car trip from Kigali to Goma. We realize we have finally arrived in Goma thanks to the graffiti “bienvenue à Goma” (welcome to Goma) and a take of the Kivu Lake.
Using the images of the travelling part has been necessary to avoid showing Mrs Gieskes’ interview for too long, apart from being a ploy which let us keep the fact that the voice-off came from Mrs Gieskes herself as a surprise.
At the end of the trip, we visit the Vlisco boutique in Goma and we see Mrs Gieskes, but the audience still doesn’t know that she is the voice-off guiding them in this trip. Then we get to discover who our guide is, and stay with her until she talks about the trainees.
Starting from then, the film becomes more dynamic: the trainees are presented one by one and their stories, dramatic but summarised by key sentences, are put forward to the audience in a crescendo of intensity.
The voice-off tells us about the activities of the school while we see the structure, the teachers, the trainees in addition to some very amusing pictures of little models wearing clothes produced in the school. Then we show Mrs. Gieskies talking about present and future developments of this project.
At this point music and images suggest that the film is finishing, but the images take us to a village instead, following home two of the interviewed women.
The energy of that place is incredible. In the last sequence a blurry figure leads us out of the village and only then we discover that the background music is a song sung by the school trainees. The parts showing the village and the singing represent the point of greatest joy and energy and send a strong message of hope, as well as the final sentence pronounced by Mrs. Gieskes.
The credits roll on a night photograph of Kivu Lake.
During the editing process we cut all unnecessary content. We considered it appropriate, for example, that only Mrs. Gieskes talked about the activities related to the school and that trainees told their story in a very straightforward way.
For the same reason the final sentence is a message of hope and not an explicit request. We find this form of communication way more effective; moreover, such choice will give us the opportunity to use this film in different contexts.
Un jour à Goma
by Alessandro Mallamaci