BOOTLEG FILES 591: “Afrique 50” (1950 French documentary short by René Vautier).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never officially released in the U.S.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It would be welcomed.
In 1949, a newly-minted film school graduate named René Vautier received his first big break when the Ligue de l’enseignement commissioned him to create a nonfiction film highlighting its educational mission in France’s West African colonies. Upon arriving in the French African colonies, the 21-year-old Vautier did not find evidence of French benevolence in Africa. Instead, he witnessed a degree of economic exploitation and repressive rule over people who were slowly simmering in their resentment of colonial occupation. As a decorated member of the French Resistance during World War II and a Communist Party member, he was not about to sit back and just tsk-tsk this situation.