A THOUSAND SUNS – MATI DIOP at Anthology Film Archives

Paris-based filmmaker Mati Diop will be in attendance for a program of her films Atlantiques (2009) and Mille Soleils (A Thousand Suns) (2013) on Monday, November 17, 7pm at Anthology FilmArchives. She will be joined in conversation with critic and writer Genevieve Yue.

Simultaneously anchored in the real world and tuned into an imaginary one, Mati Diop’s work offers a resolution to what is perhaps cinema’s oldest divide: the split between documentary observation (as practiced by the Lumière Brothers and their globetrotting band of cinematographers) and fictive creation (as seen in the magic films of George Méliès). In a statement typical of her enigmatic style, Diop has said of her hybrid style “nothing is true and nothing is false.” Instead, her films never announce what parts are fictive or documentary, and reside ambiguously between the two. In this space, which is perhaps unique to cinema, her characters find themselves rooted in one place and dreaming—deliriously, melancholically, and always vividly—of another. – Genevieve Yue (Film Comment, April 2014)

Directed by Mati Diop
(Senegal / France, 2009, 15min, video)
The story of a young stowaway from Dakar who gives up his youth for a new life on the other side of the endless water. Sitting by the campfire, a boy from Dakar named Serigne tells his two friends the story of his sea voyage as a stowaway. Not only he, but everyone in his surroundings seems to be continually obsessed by the idea of trying to cross the sea. His words reverberate like a melancholy poem. A story about boys who are continually travelling: between past, present and future, between life and death, history and myth.

Mille Soleils (A Thousand Suns)
Directed by Mati Diop
(Senegal / France, 2013, 45 min, video)
Mille Soleils is Diop’s beautiful, haunting portrait of Magaye Niang, the lead actor of  the 1973 film Touki-Bouki. One of the most important films of African cinema, Touki-Bouki was directed by the filmmaker’s uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. Set in Dakar and Alaska, A Thousand Suns portrays Niang as a “sad-eyed cattle herder who embodied the seminal role in Touki-Bouki forty years ago…[and]…is now filled with longing for the vanished past and a future that was never meant to be.” (Andréa Picard)

Mati Diop
Mati Diop (b.1982) lives and works in Paris as a director and an actress. She studied in the advanced degree program at Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts) and le Pavillon (research laboratory of Palais de Tokyo).

Her films include the short works Last Night (2004),  Atlantiques (2009), Snow Canon (2011), Big in Vietnam (2012)  and Mille Soleils (2013). Diop’s 2006 video Le Artificiel-Expedition was featured in group exhibitions at le Pavillon, Louis Vuitton Centre and the Cultural Center of Delhi. Between 2002 and 2010, she regularly worked with different theatre directors producing collaborative video and sound works. Her work has been screened in numerous venues and festivals including the Cinémathèque française, Cinema du Réel, Venice Film Festival, Indielisboa, New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and CPH:DOX. Her films have received major awards at festivals such as FIDMarseille, IFF Rotterdam, Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Festival du nouveau cinema Montreal. She has received retrospectives at BFI London Film Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, the Viennale, and Valdivia International Film Festival in Chile. Mati Diop has received great critical acclaim for her acting, playing the female lead in Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum (2008). She has also acted in Antonio Campos’ 2012 film Simon Killer.

Genevieve Yue
Genevieve Yue is an assistant professor of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College, The New School. She is co-editor of Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, and her essays and criticism have appeared in Reverse Shot, Grey Room, The Times Literary Supplement, Cinema Scope, Artforum.com, Film Comment, and Film Quarterly.

For more information, visit: http://flahertyseminar.org/thousand-suns-mati-diop/