Another Day Of Life
Drawn in the style of a graphic novel: Another Day of Life is a documentary film about the world-famous journalist Ryszard Kapuściński and his time in Angola. In the African country, the reporter from Poland, during the mid-1970s, experiences the brutal reality of war.
“It is powerful, this Confusão. It steals our hearts, it cannot be defeated. You can only go through it and turn up again.”
Warsaw, 1975: The idealistic journalist convinces his boss in the press agency to send him to Angola, where a bloody civil war is raging. There Ryszard Kapuściński is not only witnessing the events, he is part of it. He begins to questioning his own professional concept. In the midst of the “Confusão” he tries to do the right thing. Confusao is an expression that sums up in one word the attitude to life of that time in this place. Simplified interpretation: Confusion, state of anarchy and disorder. Confusão, in a country on the verge of independence, means a situation which is completely out of control, caused by people.
Another Day of Life is the gripping story of the three-month journey of the famous Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński through war-torn Angola. The film is based on motifs from the novel of the same name, in which Kapuściński has literally processed his own experiences during the civil war with journalistic intuition and a detailed view.
“Poverty has no voice. My task is to make them be heard. That is my mission.”
Ryszard Kapuściński studied history at Warsaw University before working as a foreign correspondent for the Polish press agency PAP from 1956 to 1981. From Asia, Latin America and Africa, where he witnessed dozens of revolts, civil wars and revolutions, he reported on political events and social upheavals. Ryszard Kapuściński was one of the most important journalists of our time and has received several awards, including the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding in 1994 and the Hanseatic Goethe Prize of the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg in 1999. To this day, the author enjoys an international reputation as the creator of a special kind of literary reportage. “A breathtaking mixture of reportage and art,” is how Salman Rushdie describes the work of Kapuściński. Since 1981, Ryszard Kapuściński has lived in Warsaw again as a journalist and writer. He died on 23 January 2007. His work is still highly regarded worldwide and has been translated into over 30 languages.
“They will leave a trace: I was here, that’s what I looked like. This is the face I had when was alive.”
Kapuściński’s journey begins in 1975 in Luanda, the capital of Angola. Inspired by the success of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution the year before, the country is in the middle of the process of decolonization of Portugal and just before the declaration of independence. Portuguese citizens flee from the wealthier districts of Luanda. Shops close, police forces gradually disappear from public life, mountains of garbage bags begin to pile up in all neighborhoods. Based in the crowded Hotel Tivoli, the reporter observes the deserted city. In the last months before the declaration of independence, various factions, partly supported by the Cold War powers, are fighting for the power of the future republic. Kapuściński decides to travel to the front lines of the war to be the first journalist to report on the background of the conflict. At the front he works under immense pressure, his everyday life is dominated by terror and loneliness. For him, moving through the war zones is like a Russian roulette. Even the wrong greeting at one of the numerous checkpoints can cause his death.
For the reporter from Poland, the Angolan civil war is quickly becoming more than just a journalist’s job. On his travels to the front Kapuściński meets the Guerillera Carlotta and General Farrusco – two very influential people in the 1970s during the war – for the Angolan people but also for him, personally.
As an author, Ryszard Kapuściński increasingly felt an inner conflict that made it impossible for him to report on the events around him merely as a passive observer. He critically questioned his role as a war reporter and his own journalistic impartiality. He expanded journalistic reportage with the means of literature. With his daily reports to the press agency, his texts and photos, he made sure that the dead people of this war left a trace. The civil wars continued after the declaration of independence in November 1975 and continued intermittently until 2002. Millions of people disappeared during the wars – they died or were displaced.
Another Day of Life is a hybrid: an animated documentary film consisting of 60 minutes of graphic novel-style animation supplemented by 20 minutes of documentary material. Some of the storylines and characters are fictional, others are images of real witnesses who were directly involved in the events of 1975 described in the book. Ricardo, as the reporter was called in Angola, frequently dreams nightmares of war – drawn in intense visual language. Expression and emotions of the drawn figures are depicted with great sense for detail. The animation was not produced from originally drawn material, but from pre-recorded film sequences with actors. More than 200 illustrators and animators contributed to the realisation of this film.
The film is a sensitive insight into the life of a brilliant journalist and war reporter. It is an exciting mixture of narrative media that create an intensive overall picture. Another Day of Life received the Cartoon Movie’s Producer of the Year Award and was nominated for the European Film Award 2018 in the category Best Animation Film.
The documentary is also available on DVD now:
The DVD was released in September 2019. It contains the main film and an exciting making-of video which tells the story about the creation of the documentary and the drawing of the Angolan civil war substantiality in the 1970s. It shows which work steps are added to an overall picture in order to create the animated film.
ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE
A film by Raúl de la Fuente & Damian Nenow based on the book “Another Day of Life” by Ryszard Kapuściński.
Produced by Platige Films and Kanaki Films in co-production with Walking the Dog, Desert Film and Animation Factory.