The idiosyncratic work of Nigerien filmmaker Moustapha Alassane (1942–2015) offers a uniquely incisive and playful commentary on modern Africa. A pioneer of populist cinema in newly independent Niger in the 1960s and 1970s, Alassane parodied colonialist attitudes toward black Africans, the corrupt despotism of local officials, and the shallow materialism of the country's youth in a series of animated, fictional, and ethnographic films that remain beloved and influential even today. This programme includes UK premieres of brand new restorations of some of his most celebrated films, Le Retour d’un Aventurier (1966) a satirical take on the American Western that ridicules the westernized consumerism of the post-colonial generation and Samba Le Grand (1977), the first African animation entirely in colour as well as stop-motion Kokoa (1985) which sees Alassane transform Niger's traditional style of kokowa wrestling into a championship of animal combatants.
Le Retour d’un aventurier (1966) by Moustapha Alassane - 34 mins UK Premiere of a brand new restoration c/o CNC and Argos Films, with thanks to La Cinémathèque Afrique de l’Institut Français.
Samba le grand (1977) by Moustapha Alassane - 14mins UK Premiere of a brand new restoration c/o La Cinémathèque Afrique de l’Institut Français.
Kokoa (1985) by Moustapha Alassane - 14mins c/o La Cinémathèque Afrique de l’Institut Français.
This selection of films comes direct from partner festival Il Cinema Ritrovato's 33rd edition. It is part of Cinema Libero, curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli, celebrating the 50th anniversary of FESPACO. For more about FESPACO, watch Mohamed Challouf's documentary Ouaga, capitale du cinéma (2000), a great tribute to the festival also presented as part of Cinema Libero. With thanks to Cineteca Di Bologna, in partnership with the CNC, La Cinémathèque Afrique de l’Institut Français and with support from Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.