A Spotlight on African Cinema: Hyenas

7 Oct
Image from: Kanopy.com

Kanopy is an excellent platform to check out movies from all over the world. One fantastic film I discovered recently was the Senegalese movie “Hyenas” from 1992. It is based on the play “The Visit” by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt and directed by the highly-acclaimed Djibril Diop Mambéty.

In the movie, a woman named Ramatou returns to her home village of Colobane, where she had been banished 30 years earlier for having gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Colobane is now a very impoverished place and upon hearing of Ramatou’s return, the people of Colobane feel hopeful that she will help them. They have heard that she has become “richer than the World Bank.” But Ramatou only has one thing on her mind – she wants revenge on the man who impregnated her and refused to accept their child, forcing her to be ostracized and having to leave the village into a life of unknowable hardships.

The cinematography is wonderful, there are several breathtaking shots, and the music that plays throughout the film is superb. The themes of the movie are extremely thought-provoking, and there are no easy answers.

When people think of world cinema, many think of Europe and nowadays, Asia. But the continent of Africa has a lot to offer, too. Ignoring African cinema is ignoring wonderful gems like this film.

Written by:
Sam Evaristo
Circulation Assistant
Grand St. Branch

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