Benin

ARLIT, DEUXIÈME PARIS

Located at the heart of the Nigerian desert, Arlit was an eldorado in the middle of the Seventies. Called «The Second Paris» by its inhabitants, it owes its existence to the imperialistic impulse of French uranium extraction factories. But the drop of uranium prices and the Touareg rebellion have transformed it into a ghost town in which the old hang on to their thwarted hopes, and the young to their improbable dreams of a future in Algeria or in Europe.

Benin/F 2005
Regie: Idrissou Mora-Kpai
78 min, 35 mm, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT
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SI-GUERIKI, LA REINE-MÈRE (SI-GUERIKI, THE QUEEN MOTHER)

The director was born 33 years ago in nothern Benin into a tribe of great and fierce warriors observing very strict traditions. He returns to his village after spending ten years in Europe. His father is dead. He discovers the living conditions of his sisters and nieces, and especially the place his mother holds today. During his childhood she was just one of his father’s wives, a shadow in the house; today she bears the «Si-Gueriki», she is the queen mother. With this intimate and personal film, Idrissou Mora-Kpaï casts an eye – from the inside and the outside at the same time – on his origins and his culture. The men of the Wassangari tribe, once great and noble warriors, have succeeded in maintaining an olden-day patriarchy within their clan.The beginning of the film is pompous and conventional, like a shirt with an overly starched collar! Gradually the director sets his camera in place, listens and changes. His questions are simple and direct, as are the answers. He discovers his mother, an impressive character, and the «queen’s» place that she now holds. He is also confronted with another of his father’s wives, as well as with his sisters and nieces. read more