Eat Bitter

In the Central African Republic, a Chinese construction manager and a central African laborer are assigned to construct a sparkling new bank. A looming civil war, poverty, the covid-19 pandemic, attempted suicide... Unexpected twists threaten their plans for a better life.


CPH:DOX (2023) – Nominated: DOX:AWARD

SA Premiere
Screenings – CT
Lab1Fri 30 June 6.15pm
Screenings – JHB
BioThu 29 June 8pm


Pascale Appora-Gnekindy & Ningyi Sun


Central African Republic | USA



Running Time:

97 min


Mandarin, French

Two worlds collide, or rather, coexist in this visually engaging and character-driven documentary, Eat Bitter. The film centres around Thomas Boa, a determined man with a modest ambition of providing for his family. He views his sand diving work as a means of progression rather than settling for mediocrity. However, life is never simple, and Thomas must grapple with personal turmoil at home. Similarly driven is Luan, a Chinese construction manager from a vastly different background, yet he shares the same dream of securing a better life for his family. Working tirelessly in the heart of Bangui, Central African Republic, the lives of these two men and their families are explored in depth, offering an unfiltered look at the highs and lows of their daily existence. As the documentary delves into their stories, viewers are given a glimpse of what it truly means to “eat bitter, taste sweet,” as these individuals navigate their struggles with unwavering determination and resilience. Through its compelling portrayal of two parallel lives, Eat Bitter is a film that will leave a lasting impression on its audience.


Executive Producer, Producer, Co-Editor & Co-Writer: Mathieu Faure

Co-Director: Pascale Appora-Gnekindy

Panel Moderator: Shameela Seedat

Previous Festivals

Atlanta Film Festival (2023)

Doc Edge (2023)

HotDocs (2023)

Visions du Réel (2023)