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African Film Festival: “Niiwam” and “Safi La Petite Mere (Safi the Little Mother)”
May 18, 2006 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
Based on a novel by Ousmane Sembene, Niiwam (Clarence Thomas Delgando, Senegal, 1991, 80 min) recounts the travails of a young couple’s attempt to save the life of their infant son, who is gravely ill. Unable to find a cure in their village, Thierno and his wife take him to a city hospital, only to discover that the “blessings” of modern life has caused a degradation of even the most basic human relationships. The film avoids sentimentalization, seeing its main characters as tragic examples of much larger, social problems. As their struggle mounts, Thierno takes a bus trip across the city, only to be caught in a more desperate situation. Director Clarence Delgado, who has worked as Sembene’s assistant, effectively updates the quiet yet powerful style of Sembene’s own early work. The first-time feature director does not let the simplicity of his story detract from its harrowing and immediate call for humanity. Safi La Petite Mere (Safi the Little Mother) directed by Rasò Ganemtoré, Burkina Faso, 2004, 30 minutes. When her mother died at birth, Safi, eight years, was found with newborn in her arms, fleeing her village where, according to the tradition, the baby must be sacrificed in order to be joined together to his mother and to thus draw aside the bad fate of the village. Having taken refuge in the large city, Safi is found with a double problem of survival, for both herself and her brother. Despite hardships however, Safi finds solidarity and the compassion of a family. In addition, the value of the market will also be transformed into a multitude of moms ready to give their milk to the baby. Co-Sponsored with the Art Department of RPI and by iEAR Presents!
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