Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Gabriel Glissand
Founded by Martin Scorsese, the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 31 films from 21 different countries in an effort to maintain the heritage and rich diversity of world cinema. This glorious restoration of Med Hondo’s Soleil Ô was one of 50 African films included in the Foundation’s 2017 African Film Heritage initiative, on which they partnered with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO – a major drive to preserve and highlight cinema of historic, cultural and artistic significance from the continent.
A portrait of an African immigrant in Paris, the film draws a straight line between past racial oppression (‘Soleil Ô’ was a song sung by African captives en route to slavery in the Caribbean) and African labour migration to Europe at the time of the film’s making. Focusing on a man newly arrived in France, it is an indictment of colonialism, clearly depicting the country’s systemic and pervasive racism. Witty, bold and stylistically innovative, each lyrical frame is eloquent about the identities branded on to black skin and the film’s nameless protagonist’s attempt to break free.
This screening will be introduced by Cecilia Cenciarell, Head of Research & Special Projects at Cineteca di Bologna and Manager of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project.