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  7. Man Sa Yay

Man Sa Yay

Safi Faye, FRG / Senegal 1980, 59 Min., OV with English subs, digital

Introduction by Can Sungu

By the time she produced Man Sa Yay for German television in 1980, Senegalese auteur Safi Faye had already honed her skills through an impressive suite of projects that reflect on life in her home nation. Effortlessly fluid in style, weaving together fiction, non-fiction, the essayistic and the epistolary, the film follows Moussa, a young student at Berlin’s Technische Universität. While he does connect with friends and lovers, he is primarily seen alone, working odd jobs, cooking or tidying his apartment. At home is where he reads the letters from family members and his partner in Senegal which structure the film. At once the center of the film and a conduit for other lived experiences, Moussa serves to reflect and refract two distinct constellations of social connections. We learn of his loved ones in Senegal (including their wish lists of consumer goods from Europe). Such experiences and desires are mirrored by the sequences of his friends, other West African expatriates making due by hawking “African artifacts” on the street. In each case, we hear the repeated question, laden with longing in some cases, pitched as thinly veiled microaggression elsewhere: “When will you return?” (JC)