CFS shows lovingly crafted African film

Matthew Bean

Ousmane Sembene is considered by many to be the father of African filmmaking. In several of his films he examines women’s lives in post-colonial Senegal, and “Faat Kine,” his latest work, is an example of this. In it, the city of Dakar is depicted as politically, economically, and morally corrupt, but “Faat Kine” is simultaneously a positive and lovingly crafted film.

Set in the present day, this serio-comedy introduces us to Faat Kine, a liberated woman of 40. This ironically means that she was born the same year that Senegal gained its independence from France. This is fitting, for Faat Kine is a thoroughly modern single mother.

Faat Kine has lived a hard life in which she has had to struggle for what she has. She’s been abused before, especially by men: her father disowned her, a would-be suitor raped her, and another ran off with her savings.

However, Faat Kine hasn’t let these events sway her. From her beginnings as a gas-station attendant who was frequently razzed by men, Faat Kine has worked her way up to become a V.I.P. with a multinational oil company. This would be a major achievement for any woman, especially one living in Africa.

But while Faat Kine’s kids are extremely smart, they make trouble at home. The film concentrates on their plans to find a man for their mother.

Faat Kine, however, is perfectly happy with the way things are, and she doesn’t want a man in her life to complicate things. At the core of this film lies the message that even four decades after liberation, Senegal can’t shed its past without acknowledging women as the equals of men.

The ninth feature in this semester’s Cultural Film & Lecture Series: “Faat Kine” will be playing in the Connelly Cinema from Nov. 19 through Nov. 21. Show times are 7 p.m. on Saturday, 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, and 7 p.m. on Monday. Tickets are $3.50 for students and $5 for all others. The Monday screening only will feature an introduction by History professor Maghan Keita, who will also lead a discussion afterward.

For more information, call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page.