Fantôme Afrique

Director: Isaac Julien
Country: Burkina Faso and the UK
Year: 2005
Running Time: 16 min
Language: Moré

In Fantôme Afrique, Julien paints a picture of West Africa as a place where a multitude of traditions intersect; where European, Arabic, and black African civilizations meet and cross with contemporary, transnational culture. The film is brought to life by two protagonists, male and female, who appear in multiple urban and rural sites. The man, renowned choreographer and dancer Stephen Galloway, dances through such spaces as a desert mosque and severe modernist buildings, appearing and suddenly disappearing as if by magic. The woman Vanessa Myrie, steady and self-possessed in her movements, passes in turn through crowded streets, a vacant outdoor cinema, and the ramparts and granaries of an ancient village. Galloway and Myrie figure as “trickster/phantom” and “witness” in this carefully composed meditation on the denationalized, de-territorialized spaces born of the encounters between local and global cultures, where the ghosts of history linger amid the realities of the present.