René Vautier, France 1950, 17 min., OV with English subtitles
As a 21-year-old student, René Vautier was commissioned to make a film about the daily lives of villagers and the benefits of French colonialism in West Africa. Instead he witnessed horrible living conditions and violent acts committed by the army in the name of his home country. He ended up making a militant film exposing the brutalities of the French military. Considered as the first French anti-colonial film, Afrique 50 was banned for over 40 years with the director spending several months in jail.
Afrique sur Seine
Paulin Soumanou Vieyra/ Mamadou Sarr, France 1955, 22 min., OV with English subtitles
In 1934 the French government passed the Laval Decree in order to prevent African filmmakers from filming in French African colonies. Afrique sur Seine is a satirical attempt to skirt around this censorship that was only overturned in 1960. Filmed in the streets of Paris, the film observes French society the same way French filmmakers portrayed the Africans in their ethnographic films.
You Hide Me
Nii Kwate Owoo, Ghana 1970, 16 min., OV with English subtitles
Ghanaian filmmaker Kwate Nii Owoo gained access to the British Museum's underground vaults and filmed the valuable African artefacts hidden in the basement. One day of filming was enough to expose the theft and concealment of ancient and rare African art stashed away in plastic bags and wooden boxes. “We came across an enormous collection... thousands of important works of art that have never been exhibited.”
Abbéy Odunlami is a Nigerian-American cultural theorist, curator, and educator specializing in contemporary urban history and visual culture. His research explores urbanism through the lens of contemporary art and culture, the hierarchical structures of consumption practices, and postcolonial globality.