Bokassa - Echi da un regno oscuro (1990)
Echoes From a Somber Empire

Director/Screenplay: Werner Herzog – Director of photography: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein – Film editor: Rainer Standke – Sound: Harald Maury – Music: Béla Bartók, Sergej Prokov’ev, Witold Lutoslawski, Dmitrij Šostakovič, Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach, Esther Lanardier – Production: Sera Filmproduktion, Werner Herzog Filmproduktion – Country: Germany – Running time: 91’

The film:

“The South African journalist Michael Goldsmith guides us through many testimonies to discover the figure of Jean-Bédel Bokassa, dictator of the Central African Republic from the 1st of January 1966 to the 20th of September 1979. Goldsmith, who followed the coronation of Bokassa for his newspaper, was judged as a spy and was imprisoned for an unlucky circumstance (the text he sent by telex about his reportage turned out to be unclear and it was considered a coded message). Goldsmith, back to the place of his detention, remembers the violence of the regime with the evocative power of the visited places and the words of some interviewed people.”


[Grazia Paganelli (curated by), Signs of Life. Tribute to Werner Herzog, Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino; Il Castoro, Milano 2008, p. 301]


The film restoration:

The preservation of Echoes From a Somber Empire was conducted by Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino and it was based on the original 16 mm negatives conserved by Werner Herzog Film Archive.  

The preservation of the film is part of a project to valorize the works by Werner Herzog, including the homage Signs of life. Tribute to Werner Herzog organized by Museo Nazionale del Cinema in 2008.  

The event showed the complete retrospective, the photography exhibition, a concert and a workshop and it was realized together with Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, the Scuola Holden, the Teatro Regio of Torino, the Werner Herzog Film and the German Film.

The preservation was carried out in 2007 at the laboratories ARRI and Geyer.



© Werner Herzog Film

In detail
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