May 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Africa, I Will Fleece You
With Jean-Marie Teno
We’re delighted to host a screening of Africa, I Will Fleece You with director Jean-Marie Teno, on a visit to New York to present both his first feature, Bikutsi Water Blues (screening in the Global Punk Series organized with Joseph Pomp in collaboration with the Museum of Art and Design’s exhibition, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976–1986. T, and his latest, Chosen (premiering in the U.S. at the New York African Film Festival hosted by Film at Lincoln Center). This showcase explores the visual language of punk through hundreds of its most memorable graphics, from the shocking remixes of expropriated images and texts to the DIY zines and flyers that challenged the commercial slickness of the mainstream media.
Cementing Teno’s reputation as one of the boldest most original documentarians, Africa, I Will Fleece You grew out of a frightful event in 1990. The author of a widely-circulating letter calling on President Paul Biya (to this day, the leader of Cameroon) to hold a national conference was arrested, and riots broke out. Teno plumbs the depths of the audiovisual archive to ascertain how colonialism and its after-effects have shaped the continual political deadlock on the continent. Despotism, corruption, and economic stasis are only some of the problems faced by Cameroon, the only country in Africa to have been colonized by three different European powers (Germany, France, and Britain). “Provocative, idiosyncratic, playfully arch and sardonic,” in the words of the Philadelphia Inquirer, this essay film has lost none of its urgency.
Jean-Marie Teno will be in attendance for conversation following the film.
Special thanks to Amélie Garin-Davet and French Cultural Services for their support of this program.
Africa, I Will Fleece You
88 min., 1992
Thirty years after Africa’s 1960s independence movements, a generation of Africans inspired by the end of the Cold War, the fall of Berlin Wall and the dramatic political changes around the world set out to break away from the past, denouncing the one-party state, its nepotism, corruption and economic failures.
Juxtaposing past and present and connecting yesterday’s colonial tragedy with today’s violence, corruption and poverty, Africa: I Will Fleece You is an experimental journey which, through a first-person lens and the director’s commentary, immerses the viewer in the complexities of colonialism and its aftermath, the consequences of which continue to be felt today.
Press / Awards: In competition at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 1993, also screened at San Francisco Film Festival and New York African Film Festival
Born in Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno arrived in France in 1978 and has been producing and directing social-issue films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for over twenty-five years for international television broadcast and theatrical release. His films are noted for their personal and original approach to issues of race, cultural identity, African history, and contemporary politics. Teno’s films have been honored at festivals worldwide, including Berlin, Toronto, Yamagata, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leipzig, Documenta, San Francisco, and London. Many have been broadcast in Europe and featured in festivals across the United States. Teno has been a featured filmmaker at the Flaherty Seminar, an artist in residence at Amherst College, Wellesley College, and the Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a visiting lecturer at numerous universities.
About "Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die"
More than forty years after punk exploded onto the music scenes of New York and London, its impact on the larger culture is still being felt. Born in a period of economic malaise, punk’s energy coalesced into a powerful subcultural phenomenon that transcended music to affect other fields, and especially graphic design. Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die explores the visual language of punk through hundreds of its most memorable graphics, from the shocking remixes of expropriated images and texts to the DIY zines and flyers that challenged the commercial slickness of the mainstream media.
Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, with the assistance of Steffi Duarte. The presentation at the Museum of Arts and Design was managed by Curatorial Assistant Alida Jekabson.
Unless otherwise noted, all objects in this exhibition are courtesy of Andrew Krivine. The Museum of Arts and Design is extremely grateful for his support of this exhibition.