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5 February 2023: Non-Aligned Film Archives 02: Regards Inversés (Med Hondo)


The Non-Aligned Film Archives is an ongoing programme curated by researchers and archivists Léa Morin and Annabelle Aventurin in collaboration with Open City Documentary Film Festival. The project aims to create a space to share films that have been neglected and overlooked – important works, many of which have been recently restored, that have been marginalised from dominant cinematic narratives. Each session revolves around a single lost work that is instead invoked through other films that have survived.  

At the centre of this programme is an unfinished documentary by Mauritanian filmmaker Med Hondo. Commissioned by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regards Inversés was shot between 1984 and 1985 yet remains unedited, its rushes and negatives currently lost. The aim of Hondo’s project was “to attempt, as a team, an inversion and revision of the ethnological approach, to enable researchers from the Third World, the ‘former observed’, to take a critical look at the deep structures of Western, rural and urban societies”. – Modou Ngo  

The films in this programme act together as an invocation of Hondo’s lost work. From their positions as outsiders, Désiré Ecaré, Mostafa Derkaoui, Hamid Bensaïd and Ibrahim Shaddad borrow and subvert the codes of the dominant Western cinema to present their perspectives on Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. Filmed in France, Poland and Germany respectively, these works examine the colonial spectre and its consequences for the mental and physical health of the African diasporas living at the margins of the political and social realities of their host countries.  

Screening introduced by Annabelle Aventurin.  

Concerto for an Exile
Désiré Ecaré, 1968, 43 min  

Completed just after Désiré Ecaré’s graduation from French Cinema School IDHEC, Concerto for an Exile (Concerto pour un exil) portrays, through a Nouvelle Vague aesthetic, the lives of African students in Paris in the late 1960s. The film follows Hervé, a student union leader contemplating his return home to the Ivory Coast after graduating from The Sorbonne. He hopes to become an ambassador one day, but a series of encounters with other young people in Paris’s Latin Quarter leave him increasingly disillusioned. Closely based on Ecaré’s own experiences, there is a note of nostalgia running through the film that at times becomes one of real pain. “That pain that we all feel when the reminder of our situation as exiles wakes us up from a momentary euphoria. Even if we didn't do anything about the Africa that awaited us”.Désiré Ecaré  

Mostafa Derkaoui, 1968, 4 min  

Adoption is the first documentary by Moroccan filmmaker Mostafa Derkaoui, made whilst still a student at the Łodź Film School in Poland. The film portrays the struggle to find adoptive parents for Agniezka, a young black girl in the Center for Mothers and Children in Lódź.  

Zofia and Ludmiła
Hamid Bensaïd, 1971, 9 min  

A portrait of two Roma sisters, Zofia and Ludmila, seen through the eyes of their family who have been re-settled near the city of Lódź. For his student film, Moroccan filmmaker Hamid Bensaïd was supervised by the great Polish documentary filmmaker Kazimierz Karabasz.  

Hunting Party
Ibrahim Shaddad, 1964, 41 min  

Hunting Party (Jagdpartie) was made as a graduation project at the German Academy of Film Art in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Shaddad’s seminal film is a Western-inspired treatise on racism. Shot in a forest in Brandenburg, it portrays a white mob’s hunt for a black farmworker.