Colabane, a small town mined down by the heat of Senegal, hears that Linguère Ramatou, now a rich woman, is on her way home. Linguère arrives by train, regally and dressed in black. The townsfolk rush at her with Draamaan, her ex lover, heading the mass. Linguère declares that she will contribute money to the town to bring it a new life, but on one condition: They must sentence Draamaan to death, for he betrayed her…
Twenty years after his astonishing first film, Touki Bouki, Djibril Diop Mambety brings us a second feature, Hyenas, as provocative as his first. He adapts a timeless parable of human greed into a biting satire of today's Africa - betraying the hopes of independence for the false promises of Western materialism. Mambety has even been called the avatar of a new mood sweeping the continent - "Afro-pessimism."
Hyenas had a long and unexpected gestation. Years ago, when Mambety was living in Dakar's port district, a beautiful prostitute would descend from high society each Friday night to treat the poor of the quarter to a lavish meal. They named her Linguère (Unique Queen in Wolof) Ramatou (the red bird of the dead in Egyptian mythology.) Suddenly, one Friday she didn't appear and Mambety decided to invent a history for her. He imagined her to be the sole survivor of an outcast family slaughtered by a superstitious village which still lived in fear of her return.
Mambety only discovered an ending for his story years later when he saw Ingrid Bergman in a film version of Frederich Dürrenmatt's celebrated play, The Visit of the Old Woman. In this reclusive Swiss master's bitter tale of a wealthy, aged prostitute's vengeance against the man who betrayed her, Mambety recognized the fate of Linguère Ramatou. In appreciation he dedicated his African adaptation to "the great Frederich."
In Mambety's version, Linguère Ramatou was a beautiful, spirited but poor young woman from the sleepy village of Colobane who had fallen in love with a young man, Dramaan Drameh. When she became pregnant with his child, he denied paternity and bribed two men to say they had slept with her, so he could marry a wealthy wife. Driven from the village, her ideals shattered, Linguhre was forced into prostitution and has miraculously become the richest woman in the world, "as rich as the World Bank."
Mambety parallels the fate of Colobane in the intervening years with that of Africa, languishing in the decaying shell of the colonial past instead of building a vibrant new society. Dramaan runs a dilapidated bar/general store under the watchful eye of his avaricious wife where the corrupt and indolent townsfolk drown their ennui in cheap wine.
When Linguère Ramatou finally returns, she offers the impoverished village a trillion dollars - if they will destroy the man who destroyed her. She says: "The world made a whore of me, I want to turn the world into a whorehouse. You can't walk in the jungle with a ticket for the zoo. If you want to share the lion's feast, then you must be a lion yourself."
Although initially outraged, the villagers are easily seduced by the air conditioners, refrigerators and television sets Linguhre showers on them. In a stunning visual metaphor, Mambety represents "consumer society" as a garish amusement park where even the stars have been replaced by fireworks. Like today's African bourgeoisie, Colobane becomes a "credit junkie," dependent on foreign debt. In the film's climax, the townspeople literally consume Dramaan, leaving only his clothes behind like hyenas.
Linguère's revenge can be seen as symbolic retribution for centuries of African (not to say European) patriarchy. But even she realizes her victory is hollow. She has claimed that money would allow her to abolish time, to buy back the youth and love stolen from her. But her pursuit of power and possessions has left her cold and lifeless, "half-metal," as Dramaan rather ungallantly remarks when he sees her gold leg. With his murder, Linguhre metaphorically descends into her grave. Only Dramaan, when he finally recognizes the futility of his past desires, is freed from illusion to confront reality with calm and dignity.
Towards the end of both his feature films, Mambety interjects a quintessentially Senegalese image - a bright sea glistening with possibility next to the dusty, windswept barrenness of the Sahel. But in Hyenas, an altogether grimmer film, the final shot is of bulldozer tracks relentlessly erasing the past, a lone baobab tree standing amid the endless texts of post-modernity. Any Senegalese would understand the story's conclusion. Colobane (which was Mambety's actual birthplace) is today a notoriously sleazy market and transit point on the edge of Dakar.
While Touki Bouki reminded many filmgoers of the Godard of Pierrot le Fou, Hyenas may suggest the Pasolini of Medea or Teorema. Mambety creates a stylized, fabular world structured around an implacable logic, the logic of the marketplace, the "reign of the hyena." Mambety's 1994 short Le Franc confirms his stature as Africa's master of magic realism. Manthia Diawara of New York University, describes the 1992 premiere of Hyenas as "the entry of an auteurist viewpoint into African cinema. Mambety was to Carthage'92 what John Ford and Orson Welles had been to Cannes."
VHS, DVD and 35mm
113 minutes, 1992, Senegal
Director: Djibril Diop Mambety
in Wolof with English subtitles
"A timeless story...The strong story line and fine ensemble acting provide a faster, more easily assimilated rhythm than many African films."
"This pungent film adaptation's change of locale lends the tale a new political dimension...(Mambety) inflects the grim drama with an edge of carnival humor. This film carries a sting!"
New York Times
"This wicked tale, told with wit and irony, has all the ingredients of a crowd-pleaser."
The Village Voice
"Funnier and warmer than Dürrenmatt ever dared to be but with the tale's bleak, ominous edges still in evidence."
New York Newsday
"Mambety has given us very strong images of neo-colonial relations in Africa. But the images go beyond Africa to the moral decay at the heart of consumer capitalism."
Ngugi wa Thiong'O
Dürrenmatts "Besuch der alten Dame" à l'africaine.
Elefanten ziehen durch die Wüste. Die Einwohnerinnen und Einwohner des kleinen afrikanischen Dorfes Colobane leben in einfachsten Verhältnissen in der staubigen Hitze des Sahel. Eines Tages kehrt Linguère Ramatou, eine Frau mit einer goldenen Fussprothese, an den Ort ihrer Herkunft zurück, "reich wie die Weltbank". Der Händler des Ortes hatte sie vor dreissig Jahren geschwängert und seine Vaterschaft geleugnet. Jetzt will sie Rache nehmen und sich "Gerechtigkeit kaufen". 100 Milliarden bietet Ramatou den Einwohnerinnen und Einwohnern, um Dranab Drameh zu töten. Sie weigern sich zunächst mit der Begründung: "Wir sind Afrikaner, aber die Dürre hat uns zu keinen Wilden gemacht!". Allmählich erliegen sie aber den Verlockungen von Reichtum und Komfort.
Hyènes ist frei nach dem Theaterstück "Der Besuch der alten Dame" von Friedrich Dürrenmatt entstanden und dem "grossen Fritz" auch gewidmet. Der Film ist der grossartige zweite Teil von Mambétys unvollendeter Trilogie zu den fatalen Folgen von "Macht und Wahnsinn", eine Parabel über Kolonialismus und Konsumismus, deren tückische Ironien sich einfacher Deutung widersetzen. Am Ende, nach vollzogener Tat, kommen Bulldozer und machen Colobane dem Erdboden gleich. Und die Elefanten ziehen weiter.
Djibril Diop Mambéty - Senegal - 1992
trigon-film dvd-edition 59
Film OV Wolof, Untertitel: deutsch · français · english · italiano, 113 Min., Szenenwahl, 1:1.66 - 4/3 PAL, DD, Farbe, zonencodefrei
CHF 29.00 inkl. MwSt.
€21.95 exkl. MwSt
Colobane, una pequeña ciudad adormecida por el calor reinante en Senegal, se entera del regreso de Linguère Ramatou, que ahora es muy rica. Linguère llega en tren, majestuosa y vestida de negro. La muchedumbre se precipita hacia ella con Draamaan, su ex amante, a la cabeza. Linguère anuncia que dará dinero y una nueva vida a la ciudad con una sola condición: deben condenar a Draamaan a muerte porque le traicionó…
TITULO: Hyènes (Hienas | Hyenas)
DIRECTOR: Djibril Diop Mambéty
PAÍS: Francia, Senegal, Suiza
CARACTERÍSTICAS: 110'-35 mm - color - VO uolof y francés - Subtitulado español
Dirección / Réalisation / Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Producción / Production / Producer: ADR Productions, Maag Daan Film, Thelma Film AG
Guión / Scénario / Screenplay: Djibril Diop Mambety
Fotografía / Image / Cinematography: Mathias Kalin
Sonido / Son / Sound: Maguette Salla
Música / Musique /Music: Wasis Diop
Montaje / Montage / Editing: Loredana Cristelli
Intérpretes / Interprètes / Cast: Ami Diakhaté (Lingère Ramatou), Djibril Diop Mambéty (Ganna Mbow, le Magistrat), Mansour Diouf (Dramaan Drameh), Kaoru Egushi, Makhourédia Gueye (Le Maire de Colobane, Issa Ramagelissa Samb (Professeur)
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