DOK Leipzig 29 October – 4 November 2018
61st International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
DOK Leipzig Film Festival

The Minister of Garbage

The Minister of Garbage

The Congolese artist Emmanuel Botalatala is working on his new assemblage. He fixes painted tombs, crosses and tanks made of garbage to a plywood board while a member of his team paints a blood-red street around the “African cemetery”. In the end the work is dominated by the colours of the German flag – an allusion to the European arms shipments that support the wars on this continent.

Before Botalatala started to work as an artist in 1979 he was a teacher and bank clerk. The 68-year-old autodidact invariably points out that he never attended art school. The “Minister of Garbage” combs the garbage dumps of Kinshasa almost daily to collect material for his object paintings. He finds his subjects in the radio news. Resignations, violent dissolutions of rallies and a massacre with hundreds of victims are reported in the run-up to the presidential elections. Botalatala sacrifices a lot for his artistic and educational project, which would be unthinkable without the work of his wife and the self-styled “Vice Presidents”, while his male artist’s ego frequently shines through his socially engaged art. Even a “Minister of Garbage” wants to leave a legacy.

Esther Buss


Original Title: Le ministre des poubelles
Country: Belgium, France
Year: 2017
Language: French
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 75 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Quentin Noirfalisse
Producer: Maximilien Charlier, Laetitia Rodari
Cinematographer: Adrien Kaempf, Quentin Devillers
Editor: Marie Estelle Dieterle
Music: Pierre Monongi Mopia, Daniel Dibwidi
Sound: Nicolas Kerjan
Script: Quentin Noirfalisse

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.