• Djibril Diop Mambéty – Contras’ City (1968)

    1961-1970African CinemaDjibril Diop MambétyDocumentarySenegalShort Film

    Publisher’s description:
    The satirical documentary Contras’ City (which stands for Contrast City) was shot on 16mm in 1968. It is one of the earliest African comic movie and an urban planning analysis of the “two Dakars”. It is considered the first African comedy. It is a satire on Dakar – a city in which styles and cultures are blended in a cosmopolitan small area. Mambety manipulates the classic documentary apparatus with the object of exploring social conflicts of the capital city.Read More »

  • Ababacar Samb-Makharam – Kodou (1971)

    1971-1980Ababacar Samb-MakharamAfrican CinemaDramaSenegal

    A young girl, Kodou, submits herself, somewhat out of bravado, to a tattooing practice. But in the middle of the ceremony, and while the matrons are singing to her, Kodou runs away – a serious offence to the age-old traditions of the village. Kodou’s family feels discredited, her friends make fun of her. Confined to a quasi-quarantine, Kodou goes mad and violently attacks the young children. Her parents end up taking her to a psychiatric hospital run by a European doctor, but to no avail. They then decide to submit her to a traditional exorcism session. Then Kodou is brought back home. Will she be cured?Read More »

  • Safi Faye – Mossane (1997)

    Safi Faye1981-1990African CinemaArthouseDramaSenegal

    This Senegalese melodrama tells the story of a young girl called Mossane who lives in a village between the ocean and the savannah. There, veneration for the traditions is very common. There’s a legend saying that every other century a girl is born who is doomed because of her beauty. Mossane is only fourteen years old but is already considered to be extraordinary beautiful. Even her own brother is in love with her. According to the custom she has been promised to a rather wealthy man called Diogoye since the day of her birth. However, Mossane is in love with the poor student Fara who is forced to return to the village while the university is on strike. Torn between her own dreams and traditions, Mossane decides to escape. The film shows the resistance of the young generation and is dedicated especially to the African women, their courage and their wish for emancipation.Read More »

  • Momar Thiam – Baks (1974)

    1961-1970African CinemaDramaMomar ThiamSenegal

    This is certainly the first African film to tackle the problem of street children and drugs. Idrissa is a rebellious little boy who drops out of school and joins a gang of hooligans that live on the beaches of Dakar. He gradually becomes detached from his family and adopted by his new friends who initiate him into the art of theft and the pleasures of yamba, marijuana. In his new role as a “tough guy”, Idrissa becomes Boy Idi and begins to push joints. Everybody seems to smoke in Dakar. “Even respectable people do it”, says one of the small drug pushers. Whilst Idrissa’s father loses interest in the fate of his son, his mother decides to go to the police and an inspector sets off to hunt down the gang.Read More »

  • Djibril Diop Mambéty – Hyènes AKA Hyenas (1992)

    1991-2000African CinemaDjibril Diop MambétyDocumentaryDramaSenegal

    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)

    1971-1980African CinemaArthouseDramaOusmane SembeneSenegal

    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)

    2011-2020Anton BialasExperimentalFranceShort Film

    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)

    2011-2020African CinemaDramaMati DiopSenegal

    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)

    1971-1980African CinemaDramaOusmane SembenePolitics

    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 »

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