‘Touki Bouki’, hailed by Scorsese and appropriated by Beyoncé, is a highlight among African films at Cannes

Posted on April 25, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/touki-bouki-hailed-by-scorsese-and-appropriated-by-beyonce-is-a-highlight-among-african-films-at-cannes-6515711.html

This week, let’s talk about films from Africa. How many are you able to name, off the top of your head? I plead guilty, too. I’ve heard of the names — say, Ousmane Sembène (“the father of African cinema”) — but the films themselves are hard to come by. That’s where festivals help. Last year, at Cannes, I saw Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki (Friend). The English-Swahili drama, which played in the Un Certain Regard section, was the first film from Kenya to make it to the festival’s line-up. (This Juliet and Juliet story was probably also the first LGBTQI film from the continent.) Some three decades earlier, in 1987, Souleymane Cissé from Mali  became the first Black African filmmaker with a film in the Competition section. His Yeelen (Brightness) won the Jury Prize, and he became the first African filmmaker to win an award at Cannes.

But all this is trivia. What about cinema? For that, let’s look at the Senegalese drama, Touki Bouki (The Journey of the Hyena), directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty. It was shown at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the International Federation of Film Critics Prize. Touki Bouki, generally known as the first African avant-garde film, has been in the news for a while, thanks to a couple of American celebrities. The first is Martin Scorsese, who’s the Founder and Chair of The Film Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. Under its aegis, Touki Bouki was restored in 2008. (Scorsese called it “a cinematic poem made with a raw, wild energy”.) Souleymane Cissé, who was moved immeasurably by the restoration of this formerly little-seen film, exclaimed, “What a pleasure and what an achievement for Martin Scorsese’s Foundation to give Djibril Diop Mambéty a second life. To all those who support cinema: Bravo!”

Continued at the link above.

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