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- James Copnall

James Copnall

 

I have wanted to attend Fespaco for several years now.

In 1999 I moved to Senegal, and it was immediately obvious that Fespaco was one of the most interesting things in a region, West Africa, that quickly captivated me.

James Copnall
James Copnall

To see the ‘forgotten continent’ immortalised by its own, in a week-long festival that brings a whole city to life and to the attention of the world, was something that could not fail to appeal.

This year, after several near misses, I am finally getting the chance to see Fespaco close up.

Looking at the program, I am sure I won’t be disappointed.

Most of the time I have spent in Africa has been in French-speaking countries: Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and now Ivory Coast, from where I report for the BBC.

So the films that jump out of the schedule to me are ones by Francophone directors whose work I already know a little.

I can’t wait

 

Congolese Mweze Ngangura is an engaging man and a film-maker who has already won a Yenenga Stalion, for Pieces d’Identité in 1999.

His 2005 entry, Les Habits Neufs du Gouveneur, is based on the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, and is a musical set in Kinshasa.

Above all, perhaps, I am looking forward to the latest Sembene Ousmane offering, Moolade
James Copnall
 

Tasouma le Feu by Burkinabe Daniel Kollo Sanou also appeals.

It is a tale of a man who fought in the French army, but is unable to get the French pension he is entitled to.

Then he takes matters into his own hands, with, as the film poster will no doubt put it, dramatic consequences.

Above all, perhaps, I am looking forward to the latest Sembene Ousmane offering, Moolade.

Sembene’s films are always events, whether in Dakar, Ouaga or elsewhere.

The pipe-smoking, self-taught intellectual has a strong claim as Africa’s greatest ever director.

Making new cinematic friends should be fun too.

South Africa has a large number of entries, for example, as do the North African countries.

There is always wealth to be found in new discoveries, whether they are feature films, shorts or documentaries. I can’t wait.
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