Films by Mati Diop: Big In Vietnam / A Thousand Suns
A Thousand Suns (Mille soleils)
France. Dir. Mati Diop. 2013, 45 mins. Digital projection. Inheritance is a choice, and a quite demanding one, since it requires you to go back in time. This is precisely the journey that the young but seasoned filmmaker Mati Diop embarks upon here, by looking back at Touki Bouki, the cult film made by her late uncle Djibril Diop Mambety in Dakar in 1972. In Touki Bouki, two lovers dream of a heaven they picture in Paris. One follows the dream and goes into exile, while the other chooses to stay. This “Journey of the Hyena” (as translated from the Wolof) deals above all else with choices. In Mati Diop’s journey, the story of her family is entangled with the history of cinema and the history of Senegal, as embodied by Magaye Niang, the protagonist of the original epic. Temporalities juxtapose as 40-year-old characters make their comeback. Somewhere between naturalism and fantasy, tribute and investigation, humor and melancholy, Mille soleils (One Thousand Suns) keeps the promise of its title, and shines.
Big in Vietnam
France . Dir. Mati Diop. 2011, 27 mins. Digital projection. In the middle of a dappled forest near Marseille, a crew is shooting an adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons, but the actor playing Valmont disappears. In her search for him the director comes across places, bars, streets in a Marseille that echoes the Vietnam she comes from. As she moves from one place to another, underground liaisons rise to the surface, while the shoot continues on its own, virtually without her. Mati Diop paints a portrait of a woman between two worlds, between her desires and her memories, wandering through a cosmopolitan Marseille with a ghostly colonial past.
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