The Republic of Congo, sometimes referred to as Congo-Brazzaville, gained independence from France in 1960. The Republic of Congo saw relative stability in the period following full independence. In the 1990s, however, disputed elections led to bloody conflicts that again erupted in 1997 as the country was embroiled in civil war between warlord factions. The Republic of Congo is a major exporter of oil and diamonds; this has only fuelled internal tensions between rival groups. Since 1979, the President of the Republic of Congo has been Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Celebrated novelist Alain Mabanckou has been recognised as one of the forefront of contemporary Congolese writers. Memoirs of a Porcupine, Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, and African Psycho have won international acclaim, especially in France where he has won the prestigious Prix Renaudot. Playwright Sony Lab'ou Tansi is the author of Life and a Half andthe award-winning The Antipeople. Congolese women writers include Jeannette Balou Tchichelle whose A Heart In Exile tells of her homesickness for her native country, and poet Marie-Leontine Tsibinda.
The first films to emerge from the Congo were produced by French filmmakers, or as co-productions between French and Congolese directors. Sebastian Kamba's Kaka-Yo (1965) is a love story that examines the realities of youth in Brazzaville in the 1960s. Jean-Michel Tchissoukou explored the colonial history of religious tensions between Catholicism and local beliefs in La Chapelle (1979). More recently, notable filmmakers include David Pierre Fila (Matanga, 1997), Camille Mouyeke's Voyage à Ouaga follows the journey of Zao who dreams to go to Ouagadougou, the African film city.