The Mercy of the Jungle

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Belgium | 2018 | 91 minutes | Joel Karekezi

A harrowing story of endurance and forgiveness as two Rwandan soldiers during the Second Congo War struggle to survive the harsh and unforgiving jungle when they get separated from their battalion.

"'The Mercy of the Jungle' braves new ground."—Chicago Tribune

Two men, exhausted by what seems like endless war, are forced to reckon with their pasts and their region's present in this survival drama from Rwandan filmmaker Joel Karekezi. It's the outset of the Second Congo War, and Xavier (Marc Zinga), a Rwandan sergeant and lifetime military man who grew up in the refugee camps, and Faustin, a farmer and civilian soldier enlisted by force, have just been accidentally left behind by their battalion along the Rwanda-Congo border. Hoping to catch up, they quickly realize that their two-person outfit is no match for the Congolese squadrons patrolling the roads, forcing them to endure the harsh and unforgiving jungle should they ever hope to make it to the border alive. This is God testing them, Xavier is certain, "for the atrocities I've done in the forest." But maybe there is a chance for forgiveness. For mercy. Like his previous film, director Karekezi (SIFF 2013's The Pardon) has crafted a harrowing story that reflects the horror of past genocide but advocates for reconciliation and a brighter future for the next generation.

Director Biography
Joël Karekezi is an up-and-coming filmmaker, a graduate of Quebec's Cinecours, and a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. His feature-length debut The Pardon, which played at SIFF 2013, was an adaptation of an earlier short film.

Sponsored by KING 5

  • Director: Joel Karekezi
  • Principal Cast: Marc Zinga, Stephane Bak, Ibrahim Ahmed "Pino", Nirere Shanel, Abby Mukiibi
  • Country: Belgium, France
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Producer: Joel Karekezi, Aurelian Bodinaux, Oualid Baha
  • Screenplay: Casey Schroen, Joel Karekezi, Aurelian Bodinaux
  • Cinematographers: Joachim Philippe
  • Editors: Antoine Donnet
  • Music: Line Adam
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Chicago International Film Festival 2018 (New Directors Competition) Milan Film Festival 2018 (Digital Award International Competition) FESPACO 2019 (Best Actor, Grand Prize Best Feature Film) Festival Khouribga 2018 (Best Screenplay, Supporting Actor)
  • Filmography: The Pardon (2013)
  • Language: French, Swahili
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Urban Distribution International