A Hard-hitting movie depicts rape, murder and mutilation in the Congo
By Paul Ndiho
December 22, 2011
According to the United Nations, the Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest incident of domestic rape of any country in the world. A recent study finds that nearly two million women currently living in DRC have been raped. Now, a hard-hitting short film depicts rape, murder and mutilation in the Congo, but transposed to a white European setting, in order to shock people into taking a stance against conflict minerals in Africa.
The movie “Unwatchable” starts with a young blonde girl in a white dress, picking flowers next to a large country manor somewhere in rural England.
In the film, the characters are white and its plot – a gang of soldiers break into a posh country mansion, and proceed to rape, murder and mutilate.
It was made on behalf of the charity Save the Congo to illustrate the effects of the illegal minerals trade in DRC, and its associated horrors of war and violence.
“Essentially what Unwatchable does is that it brings the issues happening in the Congo into our homes and sitting rooms in Britain and across the world. It makes it much more personal. It kind of bridges the difference between, Africa, the Congo is seen as this distant place and this far away land. Issues happening in the Congo Africa simply doesn’t matter to people in Britain.”
Since its release, the film has prompted both complaints about its graphic content and praise for its uncompromising approach. Co-director Marc Hawker says that the scenes were so horrific, even the actors found them hard to film.
“It was a really hard film to make I mean the teenage girl was traumatized by what happened. I mean the whole crew when we filmed the rape scene, we filmed the rape scene in just one cut because that was all that anybody could take and we had a support group for the teenage girl, for the mother afterwards because we knew they would be pretty upset by what was going on. But the soldiers, the actors that played the soldiers as well were extremely upset.”
Hawker is quick to point out that the scenes played out in the film are a reality for hundreds of men, women and children who live in fear of the conflict engulfing their homeland.
More than eight years after the formal end of a war that killed millions and drew in six other African countries, rebel groups and the Congolese army continue to battle for control of mine sites deep in the hills of eastern Congo.
Tampa says he hopes people who watch the film will support global efforts to stop conflict minerals, cutting off money to rebel groups and helping bring peace to the region.
“If we can stop the blood mineral market, if Europe can essentially take measures that stop blood minerals from Congo entering in to the market that would affect the financial means of rebel leaders to buy weapons and other equipment to carry out their campaigns”.
In 2010, U.S. lawmakers took steps to force companies to disclose whether they use minerals such as gold or tungsten coming from places like the DRC. Electronics firms such as Apple and Hewlett Packard are not waiting to see the fine print in the law, and say they are no longer sourcing from the region, having launched their own industry drive against such conflict minerals.