Masters Of The Congo Jungle

2448. MASTERS OF THE CONGO JUNGLE (1958-Belgium) COLOR. Narrated by ORSON WELLES, WILLIAM WARFIELD. This award-caliber documentary presents the native tribes and wild animal life in the Belgian Congo. It not only shows the land and its inhabitant, but goes further to illustrate “the wisdom and dignity of the Masters of the African Jungle in their relationship to nature.” That point is made through such sequences as native women performing graceful courtship dances in the style of birds during mating season. The cameras offer incredibly close contact with wild animals and birds. The fearless filmmakers travel in close proximity to lions and zebras, hippos and baboons, with vultures and eagles, heron and cranes flying seemingly within reach. One of the most memorable sequences follows a family of gorillas through their daily routine. While the gorillas are vegetarians, the native people are not. Between the gorillas’ forest home and the tribal village is a hunters’ encampment where members of a primitive tribe struggle to successfully kill various beasts for their meat. In a hut called a baraza, native men eat banana paste and smoke long pipes, while a soothsayer throws bones to communicate with a mystic wizard. In rare dramatic footage, a secret sect of purifiers performs ritualistic dances to wash away the sin of killing a pangolin, a mammal whom the natives believe is all-knowing. This superb film was produced by HENRI STORCK, Belgium’s foremost documentary filmmaker. 87 minutes Documentary