Quartiers Lointains: French-African Films


Four new, award-winning films about love from four acclaimed African-French directors, introduced by French-Burkinabe cinema journalist and curator Claire Diao, with Senegalese-French director Alice Diop and actor Patrick Zinguilé  in attendance.

Expressions of love are part of the French culture, and emerging African-French filmmakers do not fail to deal with it. Through the sexual confusion and the male environment of Yohann Kouam’s The Return, through dance bodies and timidity in Jean-Charles Mbotti Mololo’s The Sense of Touch, through the complexity of traditional weddings in Zangro’s Destino and the difficulty to love that Alice Diop interrogates in To Tenderness, the short films of this African-French traveling film program move us and amaze us by seizing a French, but mostly universal, feeling.


The Return (Yohann Kouam, 2013, 22min)

It’s been a year since his big brother left, and Willy, 15, can’t wait for him to return. Willy thought he knew everything about Theo, but when he arrives back in the block, Willy discovers a secret…


The Sense of Touch (Jean-Charles Mbotti Mololo, 2014, 15min)

Chloe and Louis are deaf and mute. They are secretly in love but they don’t admit it. Their gestures substitute for words. They dance, and each word is choreography.


Destino (Zangro, 2014, 26 min)

Two young guys from the neighborhood have set up a little business filming Arabic wedding celebrations and then editing them in a mini van, their ‘audiovisual laboratory’. But when one starts to film the wedding of his ex-girlfriend… Destiny happens.


To Tenderness (Alice Diop, 2015, 40 min)

To Tenderness is an intimate exploration of masculine territory in a French suburb.


Introduction by French-Burkinabe cinema journalist and curator Claire Diao, correspondent for Screen Africa (South Africa) and writer for SoFilm, Le Monde Afrique, Bondy Blog and Courrier International (blog L’Afrique en films). In 2015, Diao launched AWOTELE, a Panafrican online film critic magazine. She regularly curates and moderates cinema panels worldwide and is setting up a professional online platform to connect filmmakers and film festivals from Africa and the Diaspora.

This program is organized and supported by the Cultural services of the French embassy in New York and Chicago. Generous support also provided by the University of Chicago France Chicago Center.