Le Franc

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Country: Senegal
Year: 1994
Running Time: 45 min.
Language: Wolof

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In Le Franc, Mambéty begins his tribute to the poor, whom he describes as “the only truly consistent, unaffected people in the world, for whom every morning brings the same essential question: how to preserve what is essential to themselves.” He uses the French government’s devastating 50% devaluation of the CFA in 1994 as the basis for a distinctive yet whimsical parable of the life of millions in Africa today. A somewhat alter ego of Mambéty is Marigo, a down-on-his-luck musician whose formidable landlady has confiscated his congoma (a kind of guitar) as payment for back rent. Played with slapstick gusto by Dieye Ma Dieye, Marigo is a kind of everyman, a West African equivalent of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp.

About the Director

Djibril Diop Mambéty

Djibril Diop MambetyBiography: The son of a Muslim cleric and member of the Lebou tribe, Djibril Diop Mambéty was born near Senegal’s capital city of Dakar in Colobane, a town featured prominently in some of his films. Mambéty’s interest in cinema began with theater. Having graduated from acting school in Senegal, Mambéty worked as a stage actor at the Daniel Sorano National Theater in Dakar until he was expelled for disciplinary reasons. In 1969, at age 24, without any formal training in filmmaking, Mambéty directed and produced the short film, Contras’ City. The following year Mambéty made Badou Boy, which won the Silver Tanit award at the 1970 Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia. Mambéty’s technically sophisticated and richly symbolic first feature-length film, Touki Bouki (1973), received the International Critics Award at Cannes Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award at the Moscow Film Festival, bringing the Senegalese director international attention and acclaim. Despite the film’s success, twenty years passed before Mambéty made another feature film. During this hiatus he made one short film in 1989, Parlons grand-mère. Hyenas (1992), Mambéty’s second and final feature film, was an adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit and was conceptualized as a continuation of Touki Bouki. At the time of his death, the film director had been working on a trilogy of short films called Contes des Petites Gens (Tales of the Little People). The first of the three films was Le Franc (1994). Mambéty had also been editing the second film of that series, The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun, which premiered posthumously in 1999. His early death to lung cancer, at age 53, occurred in a Paris hospital.

(Source: http://mubi.com/cast_members/17787)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Badou Boy (1993);
Touki Bouki (1997,  2000);
Hyenas (2000, 2006, 2010);
Le Franc (2000, 2004);
The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999, 2000, 2004, 2008).

Filmography:
Contras’ City (1969);
Badou Boy (1970);
Pour ceux qui savent (1971);
Touki Bouki (1973);
Parlons grand-mère (1989);
Hyenas (1992);
Le Franc (1994);
The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999).