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Directed by Djibril Diop Mambety

Senegal 1973 85 mins. In Wolof, Arabic, French with English subtitles

Widely considered one of the most important African films of all time, Mambéty’s striking debut is a French New Wave-inspired portrait of youthful vigor and the desire to escape the social strictures of early-1970s Senegal for the perceived greener pastures of their colonizer’s land, France. Following young lovers Mory (Magaye Niang) and Anta (Myriam Niang) as they fall in love and set their sights on Paris, the film shows a heavily stylized version daily life in the Dakar that Mory and Anta long to escape, while slowly finding its core identity as a staunchly anti-colonialist work of art. Featuring stunning high-saturation color images (with exceptional framing), elliptical editing, strong symbolism, and a lovely soundtrack, Touki-Bouki is a masterpiece of mood and political fervor which should have launched a long and storied career for Mambéty—in fact, he only made one more feature and a handful of short films.

Content warning: scenes of graphic animal violence.