The Forest | Chicago Reader

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A French-schooled African education official bemoans his nation's backwardness and bigotry in this 2003 film, said to be the first feature from the Central African Republic. His peers mistreat the Pygmies, saying they lack “brain and soul,” so he sets out for a Pygmy village to teach and enlighten them. Instead he gets a lesson in their wisdom: the chief points out he can neither hunt nor heal; the kids he's trying to teach can anticipate rain when he can't. In a moment of great emotional power, he asks for a bride by presenting the girl's family with a freshly killed pig, signaling his acceptance of their traditions, which include great music sung at weddings and funerals. Directed by Didier Ouenangare and Bassek Ba Kobhio. In Akan, Sango, and French with subtitles. 93 min.

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