Dubai festival to honour Souleymane Cisse


Heralding its celebration of excellence in African cinema, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will honour veteran filmmaker Souleymane Cisse with the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

For the first time, DIFF is to honour Africa with the recognition for Cisse, the Malian director and Cannes jury prize winner who has created compelling personal tales that reflect the spirit and diversity of the continent.

Cisse will be in Dubai this December to receive his award and lead a retrospective of two of his most celebrated films: the 1995 classic Waati (Time), the story of a young girl with an uncanny ability with animals who flees apartheid South Africa and makes her way around the continent before returning; and 2009’s Min Ye (Tell Me Who You Are), a family story of tension, boredom and marital imbalance set in Mali.

His body of work includes his first medium-length film Cinq jours d’uve vie (Five Days in a Life; 1972) which premiered at the Carthage Film Festival; Baara (Work; 1979) which won the Stallion of Yennenga prize at FESPACO; Yeelen (Light), winner of the 1987 jury prize at Cannes Film Festival; and Waati (Time), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.

He also braved authoritarianism, when his film Den Muso (The Girl), was banned by the Malian Minister of Culture in 1974, and Cisse was arrested and jailed. Undeterred by the experience, he produced Finy (Wind) in 1982, which narrates the story of dissatisfied youth rising up against the establishment, which won Cisse his second Stallion of Yennenga at 1983’s FESPACO.

Cisse is the president of the Union of Creators and Entrepreneurs of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts of Western Africa, which aims at encouraging emerging filmmakers from the region.


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