Les États généraux du film documentaire 2005 Africa


Africa: from a “monstrous” cinema to a history of documentary cinema
The time it takes for an idea to become a film in Africa is even longer than in Europe. Many of the films we will be showing at Lussas for example were started three or four years ago.
This is the case of films from the new generation of Senegalese filmmakers: Sokhna Amar with Pourquoi ?, Khady Sylla with Une fenêtre ouverte and Angele Diabang Brener with Mon beau sourire. These documentaries are emblematic of the first productions born of the training/encounters entitled Africadoc which we have been organising for the past three years in West and Central Africa.
One of the good surprises of this edition is the confirmation that a new generation of African documentary filmmakers has arrived. We will begin our programme with the screening of D’une fleur double et de quatre mille autres by Claude Haffner. With this sketch of a film, she works on a first filmed approach to “this monst-rous cinema” based on the work of her father, the theoretician and critic of African cinema, Pierre Haffner. The other documentary, Un amour pendant la guerre by Oswalde Lewat-Hallade, moves from demonstrating his clear skill as a reporter towards documentary through the filmmaker’s evident empathy with his characters.
Since we started this selection of African documentary at the États Généraux, we have taken great pleasure in revisiting prolific filmmakers who never cease to surprise us with their creative energy and their sharp sense of opportunity, building through film after film, a work of true authors. Two new films by Moussa Touré, Cinq sur Cinq and Nanga Def. In Cinq sur Cinq, the filmmaker questions polygamy in Senegal in a debonnaire and humorous mode. And in Nanga Def, Moussa bears the gaze and questioning of a filmmaker on a class of teens in the region of Apt.
Monique Mbeka Phoba will show us Sorcière, la vie. In this new film, one of her finest, she works very powerfully on her multiple cultural herit-ages. Laurent Chevallier in Hadja Moï continues the narration, here and elsewhere, of his great African family.
We have selected several films which result from long periods of observation and immersion, mostly by European women filmmakers. They form representations from within of a commun-ity with which the filmmakers have formed over time the relationship which makes possible “the right documentary gesture”. These are La Deuxième Femme by Caroline Pochon, Serre ta droite ! by Lise Gabelier, and Justice à Agadez by Christian Lelong. La Tente de l’inconnu by Bettina Haasen stands out because of its matur-ity and fine polish.
Finally, two feature length films finish up this selection: one by Dumisani Phakathi, Lâche-moi, j’ai 51 frères et sœurs, an exploratory journey by the filmmaker within her own family, and Sisters in Law by the couple Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi. This documentary reveals the struggle by women judges in alliance with women from civil society to put an end to “barbary”.
These films and filmmakers comprise figures which testify to a constant movement, a powerful identity by which the documentary ambition of each film builds the self consciousness and invents the history of African documentary.