Libreville, Gabon, 2016. Christ, a young boxer, trains relentlessly by day and earns his living as a doorman at nightclubs. At the same time, another combat is being played out, or played out again —that of the presidential election. As in other African countries recently, there is hope for a democratic transition this time: it is possible that Ali Bongo, the outgoing president and son of Omar Bongo, president from 1967 until his death, may not be re-elected for a second term.
By filming simple scenes in Christ’s daily life—the training sessions during which he has to stay consistent, the intimacy of his relationship which often involves disputes and reconciliation—Amédée Pacôme Nkoulou suggests more than he shows. His film follows a certain practice in African film that takes care to circumventing taboo or censorship. Politics is merely a backdrop from which Christ seems completely detached. It is discussed only at night or on the TV sets that remain switched on while everyone sleeps. And yet, it is indeed what governs the life of Christ.