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Med Hondo, 1986
Burkina Faso/Mauritania/France | Dioula, French, and Fula with English subtitles | 120 minutes
Introduction by Filippe Savadogo, Permanent Representative to the UN for Francophone Affairs and former Permanent Secretary-General of FESPACO.
Based on historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia, who leads the Azans into battle against the French colonialists at the turn of the century, Hondo’s sweeping epic rivals any that American cinema has produced. A brilliant strategist and forceful leader, Sarraounia is a young warrior queen, whose mastery of the ancient “magic” skills of martial arts and pharmacology is first put to the test when she defends her people from attack by a neighboring tribe, which earns respect from the men she guides into battle and deep loyalty from her people. But her real trial comes when the French army marches south to widen its colonial grip on the African continent. Hondo contrasts the strong alliances that emerge among African communities with the self-seeking and purposelessness of the Europeans and provides much-needed African historical perspective. Sarraounia is not only an engrossing tale of a remarkable woman’s bravery but also a captivating study of revolution against enslavement and the struggle for peace and freedom.
Images courtesy of FILMS SOLEIL, LES / THE KOBAL COLLECTION