It’s a very few situations, we get to watch African films, and Senegalese movies is almost unheard in Asia.
Touki Bouki (pronounced [tukki bukki], Wolof for The Journey of the Hyena) is a 1973 Senegalese drama film, directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty. It was shown at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and the 8th Moscow International Film Festival.
The film was restored in 2008 at Cineteca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory by the World Cinema Foundation
Based on his own story and script, Djibril Diop Mambéty made Touki Bouki with a budget of $30,000 – obtained in part from the Senegalese government. Though influenced by French New Wave, Touki Bouki displays a style of its own. Its camerawork and soundtrack have a frenetic rhythm uncharacteristic of most African films – known for their often deliberately slow-paced, linearly evolving narratives. Through jump cuts, colliding montage, dissonant sonic accompaniment, and the juxtaposition of pre-modern, yet rustic and modern sounds and visual elements, Touki Bouki conveys and grapples with the hybridization of Senegal.
The story finds its way through Mory, a charismatic African cowherd who drives a motorcycle mounted with a bull-horned skull, and Anta, an African female student, meet in Dakar. Alienated and tired of life in Senegal, they dream of going to Paris and come up with different schemes to raise money for the trip. Mory eventually contrives to steal the money, and much clothing, from the household of a wealthy homosexual while the latter is taking a shower. Anta and Mory can finally buy tickets for the ship to France. But when Anta boards the ship in the Port of Dakar, Mory, poised on the gangplank behind her, is suddenly seized by an inability to leave his roots, and he runs away madly to find his bull-horned motorcycle, only to see that it has been ruined in a crash that nearly killed the primitive aboriginal rider who had taken it. The ship sails away with Anta but not Mory on it while the hauntingly melodious song “Love Is Fleeting, But Rejection Lasts a Lifetime” is sung and Mory sits next to his hat on the ground, staring disconsolately at his wrecked motorcycle. The scenery and costumery in color throughout the movie are gorgeous and the music and African drumbeats and dancing exciting. The film, in a mixture of French and native Senegalese Wolof, with English subtitles, is a striking commentary on the influence of French colonial culture in Africa. A welcome change from Africa
List of Appreciation
- International Critics Award at 1973 Cannes Film Festival
- Diploma Award and the Prix FIPRESCI at 1973 Moscow Film Festival
- Touki Bouki ranked #52 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010
- Written & Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty
- Casting: Magaye Niang & Mareme Niang
- Music by Josephine Baker, Mado Robin & Aminata Fall
- Cinematography: Pap Samba Sow
- Editing by Siro Asteni
- Distributed by International Film Circuit
- Release dates: 1973 & Running time is 95 minutes
- Country: Senegal