Homage to Senegalese Cinema
Born before independence, Senegalese cinema is one of the first cinemas in Africa. It is also the most prolific, the most diverse, and the recognition of its quality has helped many directors to acquire an international reputation.
The first francophone African film is directed in 1955 by a Senegalese filmmaker, Paulin Soumanou Vieyra: it is Afrique sur Seine that is shot in Paris.
Then, in 1966, that Ousmane Sembène directed his first feature film of fiction, La Noire de... which won the Golden Tanit at Carthage cinematographic days the same year. It followed the first feature film shot in wolof, Le Mandat, which won the prize of the international critics of the Venice Film Festival in 1968.
In 1973, Touki-Bouki, Directed by Djibril Diop Mambety is shown at the Cannes film festival and restored in 2008 by the World cinema Foundation. This film is considered an avant-garde masterpiece that breaks with the tradition of social realism.
Famous for his documentaries, Safi Faye, the first African woman Director, is entered in the seventh art with La Passante in 1972. Pioneer, many young women have followed her and produce today's documentaries, short films and fiction (Angèle Diabang Brener, Khady Sylla, Alice Diop, Aïcha Thiam, Mariama Sylla,...)
If Senegal stayed long figurehead of the African cinema by producing many films, regretfully advance of TV, DVD, and online streaming contributed to the film industry decline.
Sadly the once most prominent film industry of the continent, today it is in crisis due to a lack of resources and the deficit of the screens, art houses and movie theaters gradually closed one after the other. Yet the filmmakers continue to make movies by passion and belief. Welcoming digital technologies and freedom it brings for the lower budget productions, Senegal is still full of talents in the field of visual art and film.
The films produced can no longer be shown in the country, but the succession is assured today by those who produce movies in digital like the Director Dyana Gaye who won the Grand Prize of the short film jury at the festival of Dubai with Un Transport en commun (2009). Of the same generation, Director Alain Gomis, who with his first film L’Afrance, got the Leopard for the best first film at the Locarno film festival (2002), has just released its third feature film entitled Tey (today) which was awarded the Grand Prize of the Festival of Milan 2012.
Tribute to Senegalese cinema during the first edition of the Colours of the Nile International Film Festival is an unprecedented opportunity to discover here a unique look at the Senegalese film culture.
- Veronique Joo Aisenberg, Director , Cinematheque Afrique.