Jean-Marie Téno


Thirty years after Africa’s first independence movements, the end of the cold war and the dramatic political changes taking place around the world inspire a generation of Africans. These young people are also ready to break with the past. They denounce the one-party state and its attendant nepotism, corruption and economic failure. The film mixes past and present, establishing a cause and effect between yesterday’s colonial experience and today’s violence and corruption. AFRICA, I WILL FLEECE YOU… is a personal reflection on the means by which Africa may overcome its present difficulties. Journalists, writers and educators discuss the future. Written language, so often a tool of domination in the colonial past, is considered here as a liberating force.

Cameroon 1992
Regie: Jean-Marie Teno
88 min, Betacam SP, 4:3, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT
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Category: IFFI 2003, Work Exhibition Jean-Marie Teno
CHEF! Is a documentary chronicle of the trials and tribulations of daily life under a dictatorship. During the month of December, 1997, I witnessed several troubling events in Cameroon: In my village a young boy was nearly lynched by a mob – people’s justice in a lawless state. I went to a wedding and learned that, by law, the husband is the ruler of the family. A highly respected journalist was imprisoned without a trial for writing an article about the health of the president. Initially these incidents seemed unrelated. But as I tried to understand them, to see them in the context of a number of disturbing tendencies in Cameroon today, I saw they were all linked to the generalized problem of the abuse of power in an authoritarian society. CHEF! brings these seemingly discrete events together in a personal reflection of the current state of Cameroonian society with its hierarchies, inequalities and lack of respect for human rights—all the by-products of a dictatorship. Jean-Marie Teno read more


Kamerun 1995
Regie: Jean-Marie Téno


Following the tracks of the missionaries, Téno travels from Wuppertal via South Africa, Namibia, Cameroon and Togo back to Wuppertal in order to research about the history of the missionary society. Téno’s film reconstructs the interactions between Christian ‘ethos’, economical-colonial interests and the traumatic experiences of those evangelised. It also picks the issue of the current position of the African church and its political commitment.

Cameroon/F/D 2006
Regie: Jean-Marie Téno
79 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT
Fespaco 2007
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Alex’s Wedding is a chronicle of an afternoon during which three people’s lives change dramatically. Husband Alex goes to bring home his second wife. Elise, the love of his youth and his first wife, goes with him as required by tradition. Joséphine, the new bride, prepares to leave her parents to join Alex. Alex’s Wedding reveals the reality of polygamous marriage with scenes such as the preparation of the meal on the wedding night, the religious ceremony and the recommendations made to the bride by her father. Drawn from real life, Alex’s Wedding transcends the traditional debate about polygamy by showing what the first wife may go through in this kind of situation. «In trying to respect individual choices whilst avoiding any accusing stance, I acted as a witness filming the ceremony, representing reality and the hidden and explicit meanings as genuinely as possible. A ceremony, which is supposed to celebrate love and to mark the beginning of a hopefully happy period of life, but during which there is constant talk of tolerance, submission and respect.» (Jean-Marie Teno) read more


There is a Cineclub in a poor district of Ouagadougou, consisting of not much more than a few benches and a small TV set. Teno speaks with the club`s cinephile operator, an instrument maker, and other inhabitants of the quarter who especially enjoy watching karate movies here but african films as well. A film maker`s reflexion on the status of cinema in Africa, circling around thoughts upon politics, everyday life, piracy and the heritage of the griots, the West African heralds.

Cameroon/France 2009
Regie: Jean-Marie Téno
70 min, 35mm, OmeU
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VACANCES AU PAYS ist das Filmtagebuch einer Reise und Rückkehr. Der Filmessayist Jean-Marie Téno kommt nach Jahren der Abwesenheit in seine Heimat Kamerun zurück, begibt sich auf die Suche nach der Vorstellung von Modernität, von der sein Volk besessen ist. Mit spitzer Zunge und Ironie, Traurigkeit und Betroffenheit spürt Téno einen Begriff von Entwicklung, von Fortschritt auf, der in seiner Heimat „tropische Modernität“ genannt wird und letztlich nur meint: Alles, was aus Europa oder Nordamerika kommt, ist modern – alles was heimisch, archaisch und traditionell ist, steht dieser Modernität im Wege, muß verschwinden. Jean-Marie Téno wiederholt als Weltbürger und Heimatloser eine Reise, die er als Jugendlicher während der Sommerferien gemacht hatte. Sie führt ihn von der Großstadt Jaunde nach Bandjoun, ins Dorf seiner Eltern und Vorfahren. VACANCES AU PAYS ist eine persönliche Reflexion, das Protokoll einer Betroffenheit über den Drang zur Modernität, über ein europäisch vorgeformtes Entwicklungsmodell und über Autoritätsgläubigkeit. Jean-Marie Téno (1954 Famleng, Kamerun) studierte audiovisuelle Kommunikation in Valencienne. Dokumentarfilme seit 1983, 1996 drehte er seinen bislang einzigen Spielfilm CLANDO (Film Festival Innsbruck 1996). AFRIQUE, JE TE PLUMERAI (1992) gilt bereits als Klassiker des afrikanischen Autorenkinos. CHEF! (1998) war eine harsche Kritik an seinem Land, seiner Kultur, seinen Landsleuten. Lebt und arbeitet in Paris. read more