November 11, 2021


Mauvais Genres: French Cinema Takes on Gender
Cowin Auditorium | Horace Mann Hall 147 | Teachers College
Open to Columbia University Community only

Linguère Ramatou fled her native land in Sahel and acquired a legendary fortune; now she is returning by train to her former village, and she announces that she will make a fabulous donation, subject to certain conditions.

Hyenas by Djibril Diop Mambéty (1992)

Dramaan, Linguère’s former lover, who denied paternity of their child and caused young Linguere’s initial departure, could well be the target of her revenge… Adapted from Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit of the Old Lady (1955), this visually fascinating and fiercely anti-patriarchal and anti-colonialist feature is the second and last film by Djibril Diop Mambéty. Produced in France, selected in Cannes in 1992, and recently restored, it is considered a masterpiece of Senegalese cinema. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Professor Mamadou Diouf.

About the Series

Mauvais Genres: French Cinema Takes on Gender” presents nine fiction films and documentaries that were produced or co-produced in France and have never or rarely been shown in New York. Seven of these are recent films, while the two films that open and close the series are classics. These films take questions of gender identity and sexual orientation head on, through emancipatory explorations and revolutionary projects, often intimately and politically combative, presenting collective portraits and personal biographies as well as character-driven stories.

Mauvais Genres” is an ironic pun on a French expression that can mean “bad kind,” “bad manners,” or “bad impression,” and can also mean “wrong” or “mistaken” gender. It is also a nod to filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz, whose work is highlighted with three selections in this festival, since he used “Mauvais Genre” in the singular as the title of an exhibition about his work. The heroines and heros of these films defy the identities or destinies of gender or sexual orientation that are assigned to them, whether they’re appearing on self-made clips live streamed on youtube or in a mythological village in the Sahel.

This event is featured as part of the film festival, Mauvais Genres: French Cinema Takes on Gender organized by the Columbia Maison Française and curated by Nora Philippe. Additional support is provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Knapp Family Foundation, Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund, Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.

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