The Other Profile (2023) CHP:DOX 2023

March 21st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Armel Hostiou, Cremix Onana Genda Cristo; Documentary with Areml Hostiou, Cremix Onanna Cristo, Peter Olela, Sarah Ndele, David Kapay; France 2022, 82 min.

Ever wondered about those fake profiles on social media?. A revealing new documentary travels from France to the Republic of Congo to track one down.

French filmmaker Armel Hostiou one day made a startling discovery. A Facebook Profile with his name existed in Kinshasa. The Other Profile is a road movie about his search for his double. It is also an essay on the meaning of authenticity.

When Hostiou arrived in Kinshasa, the capital of the Republic of Congo, locals Sarah and Peter offered to ferry him round in the search for his enigmatic double. Many of their friends supported the endeavour, many of them Hackers. One of the leads, David Kapay, a set designer, claimed to know many young women who went for auditions as the filmmaker’s double, and were charged ten Dollars for the privilege of an appearance .

Needless to say, the ‘film projects’ never saw the light of day. To liven things up, everybody seems to have a pet dog in the circle Peter and Sarah frequented, one was called ‘Donald Trump’. After a meeting with a lawyer proved unsuccessful, Hostiou’s visit to a local ‘Maribou’ was also a failure, since Peter explained to him later, that the Shaman had a helper in the next room.

Finally, the three of them staged an audition of their own, trying to get the “casting director” David Kapay, to lure the elusive ‘doppelganger’ out of hiding. It soon turned out that many of the young women were desperate, and only too ready to stump up money they couldn’t afford – and even resort to the casting couch – to landing a part in a film which was supposed to be shot by a French director.

Finally, on the day of a heavy rainstorm, Hostiou made a breakthrough, but the results were surprising, and not at all what he expected. Hostiou had only been picked because of his youth “You are the star of tomorrow”. It seemed a right little racket leading Hostiou to the realisation this was just a small drop in an ocean of lies and deception.

The Other Profile is certainly not like any other feature documentary: filmmaking, or better, faithfulness in producing films, is the overriding theme. In this day and age of fake news and profiles, people are never what they seem to be. In the end Hostiou gives up his identity to co-direct the documentary with his other half. DoPs Armel Hostiou and Elie Mbansing stay close to the characters in this adventure about identity and belonging. AS


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