186 Great Directors: Djibril Diop Mambety

“One has to choose between engaging in stylistic research or the mere recording of facts. I feel that a filmmaker must go beyond the recording of facts. Moreover, I believe that Africans, in particular, must reinvent cinema. It will be a difficult task because our viewing audience is used to a specific film language, but a choice has to be made: either one is very popular and one talks to people in a simple and plain manner, or else one searches for an African film language that would exclude chattering and focus more on how to make use of visuals and sounds.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Touki Bouki is the consensus choice for best African film and Hyenas is also very well liked.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: Touki Bouki.

Where Does He Fit: Touki Bouki is the sort of film you can’t really rip off, because it’s simultaneously hugely Godard influenced and very much rooted in the fact that it’s, well, African. Mambety’s bag of tricks is bottomless and inspired even with his love of French New Wave shining through, with the Godardian aesthetic getting a small dose of Franju in the form of all the animals being killed on screen (which I am significantly less fond of). There’s a metaphor somewhere in here, but it’s so hard to find among all the steaming hot shots and unusual cuts, and that is what will make me keep coming back. Less cool with the casual homophobia, though.


Most Valuable Asset: Playfulness that is distinctly rooted in location.
Most Excited For: Hyenas.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Want to see Hyenas first. Inclined to say yes.

Coming Up Next: Actor/director Sydney Pollack.


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