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“African cinema is colonized by other forms of cinema” says Cameroonian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam, and in her hands cinematic strategies like the return homeward and the observational portrait are reactivated in the service of new forms of representation. Assured, expressive, and penetrating, these films spotlight legacies of political violence and trauma while warmly studying female camaraderie and cultural tradition. But, above all, Mbakam’s works are interconnected by a vision for filmmaking that prizes offscreen bonds over directorial authorship and focuses the formal possibilities of the medium toward deeply rooted forms of listening and collectivity.
After a stint in television in West Africa and film school in Belgium—where she is now based—helming her own production company, and directing a number of short films, Mbakam created a trio of feature-length documentaries giving voice to the stories of Cameroonian women at home and overseas. In films that reflect intergenerational and diasporic experiences, she makes a place for intimacy and distance through meticulously staged encounters in spaces shared by women in domestic or social settings. Mbakam was awarded the True Vision Award by this year’s True/False Festival for her contributions to nonfiction filmmaking, and we are pleased to present Delphine’s Prayers, her newest work, along with a selection of previous films.
Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.