Augure is an amazing movie that does not look like any other movie. Augure shows a life full of rituals, magical realism, love and violence in the collectivist society of Congo. And it succeeds to bring in the individual perspective and choices.

I read several reviews after seeing the movie Augure, directed by former rapper Baloji. Reviewers clearly struggle to comment on a movie that does not play by their – western – rules.
* ‘the beautiful-looking vignettes sometimes don’t quite merge into one coherent story with one clear message’ (Filmtotaal)
* ‘a ragged, open, unfinished character’ (Filmkrant)
* ‘Baloji’s full-length debut floats gently around in a wonderful bath of magical realism, but we were not really overwhelmed by emotions’. (De Morgen)

I disagree with the reviewers and found Augure really something else. An innovative movie with a strong message: a major contribution to the world of movies. The suspense was quite heavy for me from the first minutes. I really did wonder what would follow and if I could hold it to the end of the movie. Augure starts with scenes that other movies end with. Luckily, I stayed.

The scenery and images are spectacular. As the reviewers did remark, colours, costumes, music, landscape, fairy tale, art and tradition, all of that is part of the story. A Belgian Congolese returns to his homeland to see if he can connect with his family and introduce his Belgian wife. ‘He told me it would be different’, she said, ‘but I did not understand how different’. Her strong point is that she looses grip from the very beginning of her arrival in Congo and lives with it. Her openness gives her connections.

Scenery in Congo is not just beautiful. There are many cruel aspects, violence, murder, rape and different kinds of exclusion: a more than average terrible phenomenon in a collectivist society. What the reviewers see as ‘ragged’ and not ‘coherent’, are the different perspectives of protagonists. They have to relate to the positive and negative aspects of that vibrant society and they do make their choices. Following their steps is very interesting. Sometimes these steps have many observers (the list of figurants in this movie is long). They are silently watching and give way to the individual path. It accentuates the meaning of individual expression within collectivism. The reviewer above who was not ‘really overwhelmed with emotions’ must have missed the possibility to relate to the protagonists’s soul.

After an intrusive and alienating start of the movie, seeing through the daily jungle of events becomes more and more clear. The viewer is left with the question how he himself lives now, and how he himself would live in the magical and hard reality of Congo. Go watch Augure if you dare to and if you feel ready to let go.

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