Périnium (2013)

Initiated by artist Romeo Gongora following an invitation from Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo of KinArtStudio in Kinshasa, the futuristic pilot film Périnium stems from a science-fiction literary con- test that took place in the city in 2013. The film’s screenplay was co-written by artists Serge Basila and Asia Nyembo Mireille, who represent the film’s collective of artists at the Bamako Biennale.

Set in the year 3010, Périnium chronicles the story of a young girl named Zai, portrayed by actress Monica Toiliye. Negotiating a world of climatic extremes, Zai is responsible for finding a glow- ing-green substance called Périnium, which possesses the power to save the world. Shifting be- tween dystopian and utopian sentiments, Périnium advances critiques of sociopolitical, economic, and ecological realities in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. The screenwriters obliquely reference these conditions by portraying subjects in ominous and neon-lit spaces with metallic cloth- ing and protective eyewear to cope with intolerable heat, declining health, and poverty. These are the conditions that threaten humanity and motivate Zai’s quest.

The genre of science fiction is uncommon among local artists, which inspired the filmmakers to produce the first sci-fi film set in Kinshasa and to cultivate a local audience for the genre by screen- ing the pilot in local venues such as radio stations and bars. The artists pooled their own financial resources, conducted street castings, and mar- shalled members of their community to assist on the pilot’s three-week production. Périnium thus represents a collective effort to develop local and sustainable platforms for filmic production and experimentation in Kinshasa, efforts the collective hopes to continue by developing Périnium into a feature-length film.

Formed in 2013, Collectif Périnium is composed of artists based
primarily in Kinshasa

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali