THe master, The Rebel, and the Artist: The Films of ousmane sembène, djibril diop mambéty, and moussa sene absa

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THe MAster, The Rebel, and the Artist:

The Films of ousmane sembène, djibril diop

mambéty, and moussa sene absa

April 2—10, 2011

Guest curator: June Givanni

Presented in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies, Columbia University

Teranga Blues

Sunday, April 10, 7:00 p. m.
2007, 95 mins. 35mm print from La Lanterne (Paris).

Directed by Moussa Sene Absa. Written by Absa. Produced by Alioune Baduba. Photographed by Jean-Paul Rosa de Costa.

Principal cast: Lord Alajiman (Madiké “Dick” Diop), Juliette Ba (Rama), Yakhara Deme (Soukéye), Zeka Laplaine (Zéka), Ibrahima Mbaye (Maxu), Rokhaya Niang (Rokhaya).

Review by Acquarello, Strictly Film School website (, April 2007.
Moussa Sene Absa’s epic and sprawling urban tale Teranga Blues appropriately opens to the shot of a Senegalese musician, Madiké “Dick” Diop (Lord Alajiman) being escorted by French authorities in handcuffs before a brief, procedural handover with local immigration officials releases him into their custody, and back out to freedom into the streets of Dakar with little more than a 20 Euro note in his pocket. The image of the deported, down and out musician in restraints would prove to be a prescient metaphor for Dick’s figurative bondage upon returning to his native land. Reluctant to return home with unrealized dreams of wealth and fame, Dick falls into the nefarious company of a childhood friend, Maxu, an ambitious gangster and low level toadie to a well connected black market arms dealer named Zéka, who arranges to furnish him with a lavish loan in order to project an image of success for the native son’s triumphant homecoming to his mother, Soukèye and sister, Rokhaya’s shantytown home. Borrowing heavily from his newfound underworld associates in order to endow his family with the financial means to leave the impoverished village and build a new home in a more affluent community, and persuaded into an unholy alliance with promises to help establish his music career, Dick invariably becomes indebted to the pragmatic and enterprising Zéka who, in turn, sees in Dick’s directness and integrity a veritable potential to move up in the ranks as his trusted lieutenant. In its elemental fusion of universal, cautionary tale on the lure of easy money with a compassionate social commentary on the endemic cycle of poverty and disenfranchisement, Teranga Blues transforms from seemingly idiosyncratic amalgam of lyrical romance, carnivalesque (sur)realism, gangster film, slice-of-life portrait, and portentous tragedy into a sincere and impassioned, larger-than-life contemporary urban opera on star-crossed fate and inescapable destiny.

Museum of the Moving Image is grateful for the generous support of numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Museum is housed in a building owned by the City of New York and receives significant support from the following public agencies: the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York City Economic Development Corporation; New York State Council on the Arts; Institute of Museum and Library Services; National Endowment for the Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; Natural Heritage Trust (administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation).

Copyright © 2011, Museum of the Moving Image

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