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West Coast Premiere of the First Dramatic Feature from the People's Republic of the Congo

Tuesday, January 9, 1979
9:15 p.m. The Price of a Union (La Rancon d'Une Alliance) plus Body and Mind (Le Corps et L'Esprit)
Sebastien Kamba (Congo, 1974)
Sebastien Kamba (Congo,1977)

In November 1978, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented the American premiere of Sebastian Kamba’s The Price Of A Union, a narrative film shot on location in the Monokotoub language in 16mm, and based on Jean Malonga’s story “The Legend of Mpfoumou Ma Mazono.” The story, based on fact, concerns the two major clans living in the Pool region - the Tsoundi and the Tsembo - each of which was a matrilinear society. The union of the title is a clandestine relationship that becomes public; the price of the title is a conflict.

“Until recently, Kamba has been known for his documentary work... which covered many important pan-African cultural and social events.... Kamba speaks of his interest in the story on which The Price Of A Union is based. Three aspects drew his attention - the social organization of the clans (including the inherited power and non-human position of the slaves), the condition of women (who ‘represent’ the brevity of life, who are the ‘vessel’ of procreation and who, without rights, live simply at the mercy of men), and the position of the peasants (who are the pawns of the chieftains, and in effect no better than slaves).”

—Museum of Modern Art

• A Congo Film Production, Brazzaville. Produced by Pascal Ameya-Nguya. Directed by Sebastien Kamba. Written by Kamba, Jean-Michel Tschissoukou, Pascal Ameya-Nguya from the book “La Legende de Mpfoumou Ma Mazono,” by Jean Malonga. Assistant Director, Jean-Michel Tchissoukou. Photographed by Celestin Mbemba and Eugene Bakissi. Sound by Sebastien Kamba and Ferdinand Samba. Scriptperson, Gaston Pebo. Equipment Operator: Alphonse Nzonzi. Electrical Work: Albert Mayala. Cast of nonprofessionals. Financed in part with an advance from the Cinema section of the Ministry of Cooperation of France, Paris. (1974, 70 mins, In Monokotoub, Lingala, and other dialects with English subtitles, Print Courtesy of Sebastien Kamba and the Museum of Modern Art)

Body And Mind (Le Corps et L’Esprit)
This is Part One of what will be a three-part encyclopaedic study of traditional modes of healing in a developing country and of the relationship between these methods and the practices of modern medicine. Part One states the problem of the “tension” between centuries-old, rural healing practices and modern, urban, impersonal health care in the Congo.

• By Sebastien Kamba. (1977, 60 mins, English titles, Print Courtesy of Sebastien Kamba and the Museum of Modern Art)