Filmmaker in Focus:

Alain Gomis

Alain Gomis was born in Paris in 1972 of a French mother and Senegalese father. Since his beginnings as a director, Alain Gomis has often turned his attentions to the topics of identity and narrative deconstruction. He directed several short films before shooting his debut feature L’Afrance in 2001, focusing on the psychological distress experienced by foreigners living in France, which won awards including the ecumenical jury prize and the silver leopard in Locarno. Tey is Alain’s third feature, and premiered during the Berlin Film Festival.

Tey (2011); Andalucia (2007); Ahmed (2006 short); Little Light (2003 short); L’afrance (2001); Whirlwinds (1999 short)

After three feature films, Alain Gomis seems to occupy a unique place in contemporary cinema. For me the most important quality of his work is the ability to move us, to get us on that search inside of ourselves.

Gomis’ manner of storytelling feels like a fable or a poem; it’s in every line of his writing, every word he gives to his characters.

All three protagonists in his full length features, El Hadj (La France), Yacine (Andalucia) and Satché (TEY), are in the center of the world around them. Interestingly whenever circumstances push them a bit beyond themselves, whenever the film invites us to accompany them on their journeys, it makes us connect with the characters and makes us feel and experience that sudden rush of vibration like it was our own.

Death is never far away, a few meters or hours to perhaps tomorrow… after all its life that remains the greatest mystery in these cinematic celebrations… and they are sometimes bittersweet.

The mystery of the strange, the abroad unknown, embodied by the actors Djolof Mbemgue, Samir Guesmi and Saul Williams… they are the vehicles we recognize and identify with… beyond any color, any cultural affiliation or any drama.
They serve as an extension of ourselves, or what we could have been if we’d have no doubts…

At least for the duration of Alain Gomis’ films we leave our fears behind and celebrate the beautiful intensity of life in everyone.

- Jerome Baron, Artistic Director, Nantes film festival of the three continents.