Cameroon/France, 2009, 70 minutes
Fri, Apr 24 / 8:40 / PFA / SACR24P
Sun, Apr 26 / 5:00 / Kabuki / SACR26K
Wed, Apr 29 / 3:30 / Kabuki / SACR29K
The district of St. Leon in Ouagadougou, capital of the West African country of Burkina Faso, sits between the cathedral and the mosques. It’s here that, while screening his 1999 film Chief! at FESPACO (the long-running biennial Pan-African film festival in Ouagadougou), Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Marie Téno shot this documentary about the very different film culture in one of the last poor neighborhoods not yet plowed under by the bulldozers of the city center. Nanema Boubakar, cinephile proprietor of Votre Cine Club, inspects and schedules the day’s offerings delivered in VHS and DVD format. Among the usual Jackie Chan and Wesley Snipes action films is the rare Burkinabe film like Yaaba (1989), which Bouba is delighted to screen, since native films are practically inaccessible to his customers. Téno interviews Yaaba director Idrissa Ouedraogo, who confesses that, because filmmakers like himself receive French subsidies, he neglects the potentially huge market for native African films these hundreds of cine clubs represent. Meanwhile, Bouba lays out prayer mats—his cine club doubles as a Muslim prayer room during the day—and djembe drum maker Bamouni strolls the streets announcing show times between beats of his drum. Bouba can only yearn to buy a flat-screen TV someday, and thus to compete with the big-screen open-air cinema showing the Hindi films preferred by the local women.
In Jean-Marie Téno’s deeply personal short film, various images of public life in Cameroon before and after Independence appear as an elderly farmer recalls his past. (1987, 13 min)
In French with English subtitles. Presented in association with the Museum of the African Diaspora. West Coast Premiere.