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Safi Faye
Born November 22, 1943 (1943-11-22) (age 66)
Dakar, Senegal
Occupation Film director, ethnologist
Years active 1972–present

Safi Faye (b. November 22, 1943) is a Senegalese film director and ethnologist.[1] She was the first Sub-Saharan African woman to direct a commercially distributed feature film. She has directed several documentary and fiction films focussing on rural life in Senegal.

Contents

Biography

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Early life and education

Safi Faye was born in 1943 in Dakar, Senegal to a Serer family.[1] Her parents were from Fad'jal, a village south of Dakar.[2] She attended the Normal School in Rufisque and receiving her teaching certificate in 1962 or 1963, began teaching in Dakar.[3][2]

In 1966 she went to the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts and met French ethnologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch.[3] He encouraged her to use film making as an ethnographic tool.[3] She had an acting role in his 1971 film Petit à petit.[4] Faye has said that she dislikes Rouch's film but that working with him enabled her to learn about filmmaking and cinéma-vérité.[5] In the 1970s she studied ethnology at the École pratique des hautes études and then at the Lumière Film School.[2][4] She supported herself by working as a model, an actor and in film sound effects.[2] In 1979, she received a PhD in ethnology from the University of Paris.[1] From 1979–1980, Faye studied video production in Berlin and was a guest lecturer at the Free University of Berlin.[6] She received a further degree in ethnology from the Sorbonne in 1988.[1]

Film career

Faye's first film, which she also acted in, was a 1972 short called La Passante (The Passerby), drawn from her experiences as a foreign woman in Paris.[1][7] It follows a woman (Faye) walking down a street and noticing the reactions of men nearby.[5] Faye's first feature film was Kaddu Beykat which means The Voice of the Peasant in Wolof and was known internationally as Letter from My Village or News from My Village.[5] She obtained financial backing for Kaddu Beykat from the French Ministry of Cooperation.[2] Released in 1975, it was the first feature film to be made by a Sub-Saharan African woman to be commercially distributed and gained international recognition for Faye.[8][5] On its release it was banned in Senegal.[9] In 1976 it won the FIPRESCI Prize from the International Federation of Film Critics (tied with Chhatrabhang) and the OCIC Award.

Faye's 1983 documentary film Selbé: One Among Many follows a 39 year-old woman called Sélbe who works to support her eight children since her husband has left their village to look for work.[10] Selbé regularly converses with Faye, who remains off-screen, and describes her relationship with her husband and daily life in the village.[11]

Faye's films are better known in Europe than in her native Africa as a result of them rarely being shown in Africa.[6]

Personal life

Faye is divorced and has one daughter.[3] She lives in Paris.[3]

Filmography

  • 1972: La Passante (The Passerby)
  • 1975: Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village)
  • 1979: Fad'jal (Come and work)
  • 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)
  • 1989: Tesito
  • 1996: Mossane

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Petrolle, p.177
  2. ^ a b c d e Foster, p.130
  3. ^ a b c d e Pfaff, Françoise. "Safi Faye". FilmReference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/Directors-Du-Fr/Faye-Safi.html. Retrieved 2008-05-04.  
  4. ^ a b Ukadike, p.29
  5. ^ a b c d Spaas, p.185
  6. ^ a b Schmidt, p.286
  7. ^ Schmidt, p.287
  8. ^ Ukadike, p.30
  9. ^ "Africa Beyond". BBC. 2007. http://www.bbc.co.uk/africabeyond/events/200703/. Retrieved 2008-05-10.  
  10. ^ Thackway, p. 153
  11. ^ Thackway, p. 154

Bibliography

External links


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