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France, 1992

Original music : Ray Lema Production : Les Films du Raphia

Programmed by Olivier Barlet



"Documentary Africa" programme - Cinéma du réel 2022

The films of Jean-Marie Teno


Thirty years after Africa’s wave of independences in 1960, the end of the cold war and the dramatic political changes taking place around the world, inspire a generation of young Africans to take the streets and challenge the one-party state and its attendant nepotism, corruption and economic failure. In a daring free style construction, the film mixes past and present, establishing a cause and effect between yesterday’s colonial experience and today’s violence and corruption.

Tënk's opinion

In this, his second feature, Jean-Marie Teno introduces the meditation spoken out aloud that went on to characterise his films, with an often ironic first-person voiceover that doesn’t illustrate the images but creates a critical distance from them. Rather than being a witness, he becomes a partner in conversation. Rather than being neutral and objective, he gets involved. In the same way, the editing multiplies the levels, blurring forms and refusing linearity to explore the blend so as to make people feel as well as understand. Using Cameroon as an example, he presents the cultural genocide orchestrated in Africa, and its dependency on other countries. The crux remains unchanged – the film is constructed to combat the persistence of colonial representations and relations. It’s crucial to take another look at the continent’s violent and little-known history. Education and books are forms of resistance, and this key document is a bracing reflection on contemporary history.

Olivier Barlet
Film critic and editor for Africultures

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4