Sunday , January 17 2021

CCC in Carthage: the political history of Senegal evoked in two documentaries

The days of Carthage (JCC) are an opportunity for two Senegalese short film titles called "Kedougou" and "Silence" to address the issue of memory and politics in connection with the word, echo of history or confiscated instrument.

For 26 minutes, the first of these two documentaries was examined at the ABC cinema in Tunis on Wednesday.

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

The film's main images show a faded, yellowish and damaged wall space that collapses under the weight of the age. The Business Day Table always shows: "Wednesday – Sunday and holidays".

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

A political crisis this year mainly opposed Mamadou Dia to President Léopold Sédar Senghor, considered the father of Senegal's independence, marking the end of the two-party parliamentary regime and the beginning of a presidential regime.

"Everything that happens today with us, our dependence could be avoided if this act of madness, selfishness (Léopold Sédar Senghor) in December 1962 (…) is not something that I can not forget that I can not forgive, "says the former President of the Council after his release.

A new tenant is squatting in this prison, in total ignorance of this case, which somehow conditioned the current fate of Senegal.

The entries and exits of Ibrahima Gadjigo, the tenant in question, are punctuated by Mamadou Dia's words, even if his image did not appear on the screen, and Leopold Sédar Senghor was suggested in the watermark.

Director Mamadou Khouma Guèye filmed this place with a chance, but he does not ignore this unique story, being himself a trained historian who has obtained a master's degree in this field at Dakar University's Cheikh Anta Diop (Ucad).

Beyond the staging of speech as a memory evocation tool, Guèye's documentary raises the issue of heritage management, the relationship with the past in Senegal as well as other African countries.

In addition to the documentary film "Kédougou", released in 2017, Senegal's director found here a favorite subject that inspired Saraba (2017), a webdocumentary devoted to migrants, and "Penc-mi", a voice-giving film.

"It's fun that the movie is seen elsewhere," says the director speaking about his participation in the CMC, an ideal forum for "Kedougou" to be seen, discussed and criticized to allow him to go further.

"Silence," the other Senegalese short film also revolves around the word, but "it's confiscated," says his director, Papa Abdoulaye Seck.

He returned in 3 minutes on the day of voting on the sponsorship law, a revision of the electoral code approved by the National Assembly in a climate of strong appeals.

The film insists particularly on these empty streets around the Senegale National Assembly and the University of Dakar, through the force of barricades maintained by a massive presence of the forces of the order, to prevent any manifestation.

"This is a form of silence of the voice of the people, it is the feeling of a common citizen," says the director.

And to illustrate his point, Seck shows it in front of the Hemicycle, where a couple whose hands are bound marks a sword.

Pope Abdoulaye Seck brings calmness to these moments of strong tension by reading a poem by David Diop, triggered in a calm tone, contrasted with the dramatic tone of the film.

"I did not want to limit myself to this activism, because it's not my role as an artist, it's the sounds of alarm with some mistakes," says Seck.

He says he is working on a much broader project entitled "Youth 221", in which the director "asks young people to understand what will be tomorrow."

The young director, trained at the Visual Arts School in Marrakesh, Morocco, has two works, including "Sagar" (2015), the best film of the Ouagadougou Cinema and Television Festival (Fespaco).

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

The third Senegalese film from A Meeting Me Dance by Alassane Diago is featured in Carthage's documentary category.


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