Tag Archives: Wolof

Djibril Diop Mambéty – Hyènes AKA Hyenas (1992)

One of the treasures of African cinema, Senegalese master Mambéty’s long-delayed follow-up to his canonical Touki Bouki is a hallucinatory comic adaptation of Swiss avant-garde writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit, which in Mambéty’s imagining follows a now-rich woman returning to her poor desert hometown to propose a deal to the populace: her fortune, in exchange for the death of the man who years earlier abandoned her and left her with his child. Per its title, Hyenas is a film of sinister, mocking laughter, and a biting satire of a contemporary Senegal whose post-colonial dreams are faced with erosion by western materialism. Read More »

Ousmane Sembene – Ceddo (1977)

Imagine, if you will, a story written for Akira Kurosawa. You know, one with armies clashing and sieges of great castles. Now imagine the story was done instead by a third-grade grammar-school class of about thirty people–the same heavy themes but where Kurosawa would show an army the play has to use two people. Instead of a castle there would be a tent. You would get a sort of “micro-epic.” Okay, now you have some idea what a “micro-epic” might be. Ousmane Sembene’s 1977 Senegalese film CEDDO is a very big film on a very small scale. The film, based on a true story, takes place in one village but it is still the stuff of epics. Read More »

Anton Bialas – À l’entrée de la nuit AKA At The Entrance Of The Night (2020)

Synopsis
Two Senegalese men walk through a forest in Morocco at night. As they try to find a passageway to the north, they talk about a strange dream. Two officers from the Spanish Civil Guard patrol the Spanish coast in an SUV. The car’s headlights probe the darkness in search of illegal immigrants. In Paris, a young woman performs a symbolic burial in a forest on the edge of the city. Read More »

Mati Diop – Atlantique AKA Atlantics (2019)

Quote:
Buried beneath all the ballyhoo over Netflix’s premiere of “The Irishman,” another one of this year’s finest films slipped onto the streaming service with little fanfare last Friday. “Atlantics,” the debut feature from world cinema royalty Mati Diop made history earlier this year by being the first movie directed by a black woman ever invited to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it went on to win the Grand Jury Prize. Read More »

Ousmane Sembene – Emitaï AKA God of Thunder (1971)

As World War II is going on in Europe, a conflict arises between the French and the Diola-speaking tribe of Africa, prompting the village women to organize their men to sit beneath a tree to pray. Read More »

Ababacar Samb-Makharam – Jom (1982)

Quote:
The merger between cinematic language and traditional African narrative forms is taken even further in Jom, the Story of a People (Senegal 1982) by Ababacar Samb Makharam. The film presents an epic overview of the history of Senegal within the structure of a tale told by a griot. Griots are the itinerant poets and musicians of Senegal who has the responsibility of recounting and maintaining the history of a tribe or people and, because of their duty in preserving the memories of their people, the griots hold an especially important place within the West African cultural community. The role of the griot was, perhaps, best stated by Sembene: “His work reflects and synthesizes the problems, the struggles, and the hopes of his people,” In Jom, the Story of a People, Makharam’s creates the film equivalent of a griot’s tale with all of its musical and moral strengths intact. Read More »

Djibril Diop Mambéty – Touki Bouki AKA Journey of the Hyena (1973)

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Quote:
This 1973 first feature by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety is one of the greatest of all African films and almost certainly the most experimental. Beautifully shot and strikingly conceived, it follows the comic misadventures of a young motorcyclist and former herdsman (Magaye Niang) who gets involved in petty crimes in Dakar during an attempt to escape to Paris with the woman he loves (Mareme Niang). The title translates as “Hyena’s Voyage,” and among the things that make this film so interesting stylistically are the fantasy sequences involving the couple’s projected images of themselves in Paris and elsewhere. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader Read More »