CAMERAS D'AFRIQUE: Le Damier / Grigris
Monday, October 28, 2013 from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM (PDT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
A MONDAY NIGHTS SERIES SPECIAL PRESENTATION
In Partnership with Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television and Film Independent:
7:30 PM – Le Damier (The Draughtsmen)
Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda (Gabon, 1996)
In writer/director Balufu Bayupa-Kanyinda’s calm yet absurdist political satire, the situation is established quickly, and continues in a series of scenes that play like sketches, yet each advances the director’s attitudes about African politics. We’re quickly made aware of the thoughts of the deluded leader–we laugh as soon as the loaded title “President for Life” is dropped–and we hear his ruminations during a one-sided radio interview while the camera tracks across the night of the fictional country Payssien; it ends with a shot of the snarling leader Papa National’s face on a flag, the last color image in Le Damier until the very end. The movie plunges into black and white, as the film follows the goings-on in this country the night before the president takes office. A series of checker games with rapidly escalating stakes are staged, while Papa National proclaims his faith in his Prime Minister–before threatening to execute him for the slightest error. Bayupa-Kanyinda uses the paranoia that creeps upon most of us after a sleepless night and magnifies it for comedy–he’s as smooth as he is cheeky. – Elvis Mitchell
• Written by Bakupa-Kanyinda. Photographed by Roland Duboze. With Dieudonné Kabongo, Yves Mba, Pascal N'Zonzi, Jean la Croix Kamga (40 min)
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad, 2013)
The newest film by Chadian writer/director Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, like much of his previous work, is about much more than he allows audience to perceive at the beginning. Ostensibly, his new film tracks the confident young dancer played by Souleymane Deme, who makes his debut as he takes to the floor with the beatific arrogance of a born athlete. Slowly, painstakingly, Grigris takes on much more complexity, dealing with the protagonist's struggle to scrounge a living by dealing in illegal gasoline sales, and his pursuit of another dancer, a young woman who seems as lost and out of place as he is. One of the loveliest and most romantic images in films this year comes when the pair take each other in a romantic embrace; she towers over him and her hands seem to cover his entire upper torso---he beams with delight over the loving mountain he's about to scale. The film's music is by Wasis Diop---part of the Diop dynasty that includes his daughter, director Mati Diop, and his brother, Djibril Diop-Membety.
- Elvis Mitchell
• Written by Haroun. (101 min)
This screening is free of charge and open to the public on a first come-first served basis. Please bring a valid ID, no paper tickets are required for entry, but RSVP is required through this website. Doors will open at 7PM.
All SFTV screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.