Born in the colonial time from a Belgian agent and a Rwandan woman, Suzanne is only 4 years old when her father brings her to Europe in 1930 to give her a European education. She is, as people would have put it then, «a mulatto child saved from a negro destiny. »
Suzanne’s father is also the director’s grandfather, who discovered only at the age of 27 that she had a mixed race aunt. Twenty years later, she makes this film, in which the family story intersects the bigger history. Suzanne is one among hundreds of children to have been taken away from their homeland in absolute silence. A thousand others were simply abandoned in Africa. In both cases, their treatment was the result of politics based on racial segregation. The unique story of Suzanne echoes that of other children and belongs to a page of history whichremains to this day a national taboo.

Shooting Format : 16/9, color | Length : 74 minutes | Year : 2011
Original Languages : French – Kinyarwanda | Subtitles : English, German
Screening Support : BETA Digital, Beta SP, Dvcam, Blu Ray | DVD

Étoile, Scam 2012 (French Author Association);
Silverback for Best Documentary, Hillywood International Film Festival 2012, Rwanda.
Prix Spécial du Jury, Festival Lumières d’Afrique, Besançon 2012.
Prix de la Mémoire, , Ecollywood, Lille, 2012.
Magritte du Cinéma, Nominee, Belgium 2013.
Python Papou for Best Documentary, Quintescence, Benin 2013.

FIFF, Namur, 2011; FrauenFilmTage, Vienna 2012; HOTDOCS, Toronto 2012; Vues d’Afrique, Montreal 2012; Cinémas d’Afrique, Lausanne 2012; Rwanda Film Festival 2012; International Festival of Ferrara, Italy, 2012. Ecollywood, Lille, 2012; Escales Documentaries (Compétition Internationale), La Rochelle, 2012; Lumières d’Afrique, Besançon 2012; Documentary Panorama, Cork Film Festival 2012; Festival du Film de Famille, Saint Ouen 2012; forumdoc.bh.2012 International Competitive Film Showcase, Belo Horizonte, Brazil ; QUINTESSENCE, Festival International du Film de Ouidah, Bénin, 2013; FESPACO 2013, “Vu d’ailleurs”, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; DOC DOC DOC 2013, Villedieu (France) ; FEMI _ Festival régional & international du cinéma de Guadeloupe 2013, officiel competition.

Theatrical Release: VENDÔME, Brussels, Mai 9 – June 12, 2012

Broadcasts: RTBF, La Trois, October 1st, 2011; ARTE, June 7, 2012.

Writing & Directing: Nathalie Borgers
Image: Nicolas Rincon Gille
Sound: Gilles Laurent – Alex Davidson
Editing : Catherine Gouze
Sound editing: Charo Calvo – Alex Davidson
Original Music: Tuur Florizoone
Sound mixing: Alek Goosse – AGeNT Brussels
Production manager: Nadia Belali – France | Cyril Bibas – Belgium | Juvens Ntampuhwe – Rwanda
Producer: Cyril Bibas – CVB (Belgium)
Co-Producers : Carine Leblanc & Jean-Jacques Beineix – Cargo Films (France)

A Centre Vidéo de Bruxelles (CVB) production.
In coproduction with Cargo Films | Limited Adventures | RTBF Télévision belge – Unité Documentaire | ARTE Belgique | ARTE GEIE

A project developed by Joëlle Lonjon and Néon Rouge Productions within the framework of EURODOC program and with the support of the Centre de l’Audiovisuel à Bruxelles (CBA).

With the support of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique et des télédistributeurs wallons, of the Vlaams audiovisueel Fonds, of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC), and of the Procirep & Angoa.

The CVB is funded by the Commission communautaire française (Cocof), the Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles – Ministery of Culture and Audiovisuel, and is supported by the Loterie nationale.

15 thoughts on “Greetings from the colony

  1. Thank you so much Nathalie. I watched the film and it influenced so many emotions within me–job well done and thank for seeing the necessity in making this film. I have shared it with a couple of my friends.

  2. Bonjour Nathalie, je viens de regarder votre documentaire à la télévision et je tenais à vous dire qu’il est très émouvant à voir. Votre démarche est impressionnante et admirable. Merci.

  3. natalie you did a great deal of a jobt only mixed race, but even among negroes coloniolism displaced people and what they and their descendants faced and face was and is stressful. Allah bless.

  4. Dear G, Thank you for letting me know about who this person was. This is a precious informatioon. The historian who explains in the film that the person is likely a man and not a woman had also told me that the clothes seemed from Burundi.
    Thanks again. How did you see the film? On DVD? TV? Online?
    Best regards, Nathalie

  5. Wonderful movie & I’d like to know if the siblings ever got to meet in person? Did her brother ever get a replacement birth certificate? Finally, does Belgium acknowledge child born of their agent & left behind in Africa?

    • Dear Marjorie,
      Thank you for your message! Yes, the siblings got to see each other in person. Jacques from Rwanda came to Belgium. It was very moving to see him arrive and have this wonderful feeling of set foot on the ground of his father’s country.
      Unfortunately, up to now, his attempt to get the Belgian nationality has not succeeded. I am not exactly sure why. On this regards, the Belgian governement has not improved.
      Have a happy silvester and a great new year! Nathalie

      • Bonjour. Je suis Alain Vaessen, journaliste à la Rtbf. Je voudrais avoir un contact avec vous pour vous faire part d’un projet pour lequel vous pourriez m’éclairer. Contactez-moi dès que possible, je vous expliquerai en quelques minutes puis nous déciderons d’une éventuelle suite. Bien à vous. Alain Vaessen – RTBF alva@rtbf.be 0476/450 135

  6. Bonjour Nathalie, I just watched your beautiful film on Amazon Prime. I selfiishly wish it was about an hour longer, because there were so many layers, so many interesting and important topics encompassed in your work. Forgive me for prying, but I wonder about Suzanne’s son Guy. Was he interested in this part of his heritage? And I’m so curious about the time Annick spent with her Rwandan family, presumably her grandmother? Did her Rwandan uncle Jacques spend time with her? And also how old was Rwandan Jean when he passed away? Thank you for your work and for your thoughtful artistry.

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