Safi Faye Film Director, Ethnologist
Kaddu Beykat (1975)
Noted as the first feature film made by a Sub-Saharan African woman to be commercially distributed and brought international recognition for its creator.The daily lives of people in a Senegalese village is presented with a highlight on a romance brewing.
Rouch encouraged her to move to Paris in 1972.Faye proceeded to enroll in the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes to study ethnology, and the Louis Lumiere Film School to study film.After her completion of film school in 1974, she started using film as a vehicle to publish her ongoing research on the Serer (her ethnic group).By the time she gained her Ph.D. she had made three films: Kaddu Beykat (1975) Goob Na Na(1979) and Fad’jal (1979).
1979: Goob na nu (The harvest is in)
1980: Man Sa Yay (I, Your Mother)
1981: Les âmes au soleil (Souls under the Sun)
1983: Selbe: One Among Many (or Selbe and So Many Others)
1983: 3 ans 5 mois (Three years five months)
1985: Racines noires (Black Roots)
1985: Elsie Haas, femme peintre et cinéaste d’Haiti (Elsie Haas, Haitian Woman Painter and Filmmaker)
Faye held a number of academic positions in Europe,while continuing to produce ethnographic films.Though much of her work focuses on the Serer, she has made documentaries for the United Nations, German and French television.In a 1970s interview, she detailed her methods: “I go talk to the farmers in their village.We discuss their problems and I take notes. Even though I may write a script for my films, I basically leave the peasants free to express themselves in front of a camera and I listen. My films are collective works in which everybody takes an active part.”
The messages that Safi Faye sends out throughout her films are blatantly political and as a result, government censorship in Africa, has averted most of them from being seen.