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Two by Safi Faye

Sunday, Oct 22, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

A filmmaker of singular vision and ingenuity, Safi Faye fearlessly experimented with genre and form in order to honor the people from her home country of Senegal, particularly the working class and women from rural regions like the one she hailed from. Faye is the first woman from Sub-Saharan Africa to direct a commercially distributed film (Kaddu Beykat), and despite being referred to as the mother of African cinema, she is rarely given the recognition she deserves alongside internationally lauded male contemporaries like Ousmane Sembène and Souleymane Cissé. The artist passed away earlier this year, leaving behind an array of works that all share a keen eye, revolutionary spirit, and commitment to community. On the one-year anniversary of its Infinite Beauty series, Museum of the Moving Image collaborates with the Melbourne International Film Festival for this selection of two Faye films; I, Your Mother (1980) and Selbé: One Among Many (1983). 

Introduced by Melbourne International Film Festival Programmer Mia Falstein-Rush 

I, Your Mother 
Dir. Safi Faye. Senegal. 1980, 59 mins. Digital projection. In French and German with English Subtitles. Digital projection. Moussa, a young student, finds himself drifting—often alone—in Berlin, working odd jobs to send money, clothes, and more as demanded in letters from back home. Expressing the divide experienced by many migrants, he says “Sooner or later, I’ll return to where my other self is.” Drawing on her brief time in Germany during a period of considerable cultural and political upheaval, this fascinatingly fluid work reveals Fay’s rich sense of self, blurring the lines of fact, fiction, and form in ways that only deepen our connection to the truth. 

Selbé: One Among Many 
Dir. Safi Faye. Senegal. 1983, 32 mins. Digital projection. In French and Wolof with English Subtitles. Digital projection. Guided by the doleful singing of its subject, Safi Faye’s short documentary follows Selbé a 39-year-old mother of eight living in Fad’jal, the filmmaker’s native Serer village in southern Senegal. Selbé must bear the burden of caring for her large family while her unemployed husband searches for work in a neighboring village, her daily routine punctuated by a song cycle that recurs throughout the film. Using documentary as a vessel for ethnographic study, Faye examines the economic and social expectations placed on African women in rural areas. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for MoMI members at the Senior/Student level and above. Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.