Free Owsley Sunday Film
Directed by Moustapha Alassane
This screening opens with Samba the Great (Samba le grand), an animation in which a princess, tests the fidelity of her would-be lover through a series of heroic challenges (1977, 16mm, 14 minutes). This is followed by The Return of an Adventurer (Le Retour d’un aventurier), one of Alassane’s most celebrated films. This homage to the American Western follows a band of would-be outlaws who ransack a Nigerien village (1966, 16mm, 34 minutes). The program ends with The Cowboys are Black (Les Cowboys sont noirs) directed by Serge Moati. The documentary follows the filming of The Return of an Adventurer, the first African Western. On weekdays, the cowboys are taxi drivers and mechanics; on weekends, they’re portraying hipster cowboys enacting fantasies of tearing up a town (1966, 16mm, 15 minutes).
Moustapha Alassane: Father of African Cinema
This touring series organized by Amelie Garrin Davet of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, features animation and live-action films created by one of the pioneering Nigerien filmmaker Moustapha Alassane. Alassane’s career spanned four decades, and his work reflects the political climate of his time, often critiquing both European colonialism and local corruption. This series is but a sample of his diverse output, which ranged from animation and narrative films to ethnographic works, and reflected the influence of such filmmakers as Jean Rouch and Norman McLaren.
This tour premiered at MoMA in May with stops at Wexner Center for the Arts and International House in Philadelphia. All films are 16mm in French with English subtitles.
Organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York with support from the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut Français, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.