Saturday , October 23 2021

GBH Carthage: The political history of Senegal is highlighted in two documentary films


Carthage Film Days (Jcc) is an opportunity for two Senegalese documentary films in the short film category "Kedougou" and "Silence" to engage with the theme of memory and politics in conjunction with the word "echo" of history or instrument confiscated.

The first of two documentary films in question was shown on March 26 at the ABC Cinema in Tunis.

He returns to a section of Senegal's political history by filming the former prison, where former Senegalese Prime Minister Mamadou Dia was imprisoned in Kedougou, in the extreme south-east of Senegal.

The main shots of the film show a room with faded walls, yellowed and dilapidated, which collapses under the age. The table of visits always shows "Wednesday – Sunday and holidays".

Mamadou Dia, whose voice is heard throughout the film, spent ten years following his life imprisonment in connection with the political events in Senegal in December 1962.

A political crisis this year was mainly directed against Mamadou Dia against President Léopold Sédar Senghor, who was considered the father of Senegal's independence and marked the end of the two-member parliamentary regime and the beginning of a presidential regime.

"Everything that happens to us today could avoid our addiction unless this act of insanity and selfishness on his part (by Léopold Sédar Senghor) of December 1962 took place. (…) I can not forget that, I can not forgive, "said the ex-council chairman after his release.

A new tenant squats this prison in complete ignorance of this case, which has somehow conditioned the current fate of Senegal.

The entrances and exits of Ibrahima Gadjigo, the tenant in question, are interrupted by the words of Mamadou Dia, even though his picture was not on the screen. The image of Léopold Sédar Senghor was suggested in a watermark.

Director Mamadou Khouma Guèye filmed this place by accident, but he does not ignore this unique story because he is a self-educated historian and earned a master's degree in this field from Cheikh Anta Diop University (Ucad) in Dakar.

In addition to staging language as an instrument of remembrance, Guèey's documentary raises the issue of cultural heritage management, the relationship to the past, both in Senegal and in other African countries.

In addition to the "Kédougou", a documentary from 2017, the Senegalese filmmaker found here a popular theme that inspired "Saraba" (2017), a web documentary for migrants and "Penc-mi", a film that gives voice to citizens.

"It's fun to see the movie elsewhere," says the director about his participation in the JCC, an ideal forum for "Kedougou" that can be seen, discussed and criticized to move it forward.

"Silence", the other Senegalese short film in the running, also revolves around the word, but "this is confiscated," says his director Pope Abdoulaye Seck.

On the day of the vote on the sponsorship law, he returned within three minutes, reviewing the electoral law approved by the National Assembly in a climate of fierce clashes.

Above all, on those streets emptied of the National Assembly of Senegal and the University of Dakar, the film consists of barricades sustained by a massive presence of law enforcement forces to prevent any manifestation.

"This is a way to silence the voice of the people, it is the feeling of a simple citizen," says the filmmaker.

And to illustrate this, Seck shows it in front of the hemicycle, where a pair whose hands are tied swings a sword.

Pope Abdoulaye Seck calms those moments of tension by reading a poem by David Diop that stands before the dramatic tone of the film in a calm voice.

"I did not want to limit myself to this activism because it's not my role as an artist, it's about raising the alarm with a bit of walking," Seck argues.

He says he is working on a much larger project called "Youth 221," in which the director asks the teenagers "what will be tomorrow."

The young filmmaker, trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Marrakech, Morocco, has already produced two works, including "Sagar" (2015), the best film of the Panafrican School of Cinema and Television Schools Ouagadougou (Fespaco).

There is also "Yakaar", a film he dedicated to the life of migrants in Morocco in 2018.

The third Senegalese film in the series, "Meet my father" by Alassane Diago, is in the documentary category of Carthage Film Days.


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