Africa’s ‘Cannes moment’ opens with tribute to Malian great Souleymane Cissé

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© Stefano Rellandini, AFP

The record number of African films at the 76th Cannes Film Festival has fuelled talk of a moviemaking revival on the continent, powered by a new generation of female directors. Fittingly, this year’s Carrosse d’Or award, part of the Directors Fortnight strand, went to Mali’s Souleymane Cissé, the veteran director credited with reinventing film as an African art form.

Having celebrated the last gasp of Europe’s decrepit aristocracies in “Jeanne du Barry”, the controversial curtain-raiser starring Johnny Depp, the world’s glitziest film gathering got down to business on Wednesday with a flurry of movies big and small, new and old, hailing from all corners of the world.

In the flagship Palme d’Or race, the 2018 Japanese laureate Hirokazu Kore-eda went Rashomon-style in “Monster”, his latest exploration of family dysfunction, while France’s Catherine Corsini hit the red carpet for her Corsican-set family drama “Homecoming”, which has been dogged by controversy amid allegations of harassment during filming.

There’s also a Midnight Screening of Algeria-set “Omar la Fraise” (The King of Algiers) by French-Algerian director Elias Belkeddar, starring Reda Kateb as an exiled gangster trying to get back in the game.

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