Touki bouki

Senegal 1973. Dir: Djibril Diop Mambéty. 89 min. DCP

“A cinematic poem made with a raw, wild energy.”
MARTIN SCORSESE

Touki bouki is the one African movie that will survive the test of time and forever be relevant. It is a unique film, as unique as Mambéty himself.”
TIMBUKTU DIRECTOR ABDERRAHMANE SISSAKO

The only African entry in BBC’s 2018 poll of greatest foreign-language (i.e. non-English-language) films, legendary Senegalese auteur Djibril Diop Mambéty’s first feature is a truly watershed work in African cinema. Eschewing the neorealist approach favoured by “Father of African Film” Ousmane Sembène, Mambéty instead drew inspiration from the exuberant French New Wave — most patently, peak Godard — for this radical lovers-on-the-lam debut, a vivid mashup of Pierrot le fou and Wolof culture. Mory and Anta are young lovers and outcasts who envision fuller, freer lives in Europe, a land of imagined prosperity. Straddling a motorcycle emblazoned with zebu horns, the couple embark on a looting spree across Dakar to fund their escape. The frenetic editing, splashes of surrealism, and outré soundtrack heralded Mambéty as a revolutionary in world cinema. International Critics’ Prize, Cannes 1973. In Wolof with English subtitles.

Advisory: Touki bouki contains graphic scenes of animal slaughter.

Djibril Diop Mambéty × 2 | Touki bouki screens in a double bill with its 1992 spiritual sequel Hyenas, now newly restored.

 

REVIEWS

"A revolutionary work both in its futuristic themes and its innovative style ... One of Africa’s finest films."

BBC | full review

"One of the greatest of all African films and almost certainly the most experimental ... Beautifully shot and strikingly conceived."

Chicago Reader | full review