New Film: Manthia Diawara’s Edouard Glissant, un monde en relation

On July 15, 2010, in Avignon’s Théâtre du Verbe incarné [Theater of the Embodied Word] co-sponsored by the Institut du Tout-Monde, presented the world premier of writer and filmmaker Manthia Diawara’s 2009 film Edouard Glissant: un monde en relation [Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation].

In his fascinating article “Edouard Glissant: un monde en relation, première mondiale du film de Manthia Diawara,” Olivier Barlet asks the filmmaker how one captures on film the fullness of a man and his thought and makes it accessible to a broad audience, and how can one make sure that this complex thought is clearly represented in such a short time and through image. Diawara answers, “I told him to explain his ideas by talking to me like he would to a 12 year old.” Barlet assures us that indeed, in this film, “Glissant is simple, crystal-clear even, and the film accompanies this effort by appropriate [and well-organized and clearly marked] chapters and titles. The article assures us that the film remains light, like bits of a conversation among friends.

Edouard Glissant: un monde en relation, is divided into four parts: Opacity and the History of Unintelligibility; Diversity in the Black Night: Chaos, Creolization, Metissage and Post-Race; Roots & Imaginary Offshoots: Ecstatic Difference; and De-capitalization and the Way of the World. The film takes place on a cross-Atlantic voyage from South Hampton, UK, to Brooklyn, New York, on the Queen Mary II.

From Mali, Manthia Diawara is a writer, filmmaker, cultural theorist, scholar, and art historian. Diawara holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is professor of comparative literature and Africana  Studies at New York University, where he specializes in the Black Diaspora in Europe, Black American film, literary and cultural studies, and black film in Africa and Europe. He focuses on Glissant’s work, theories, conferences, slavery memorials, jazz, creolization, the vanity of Creole gardens, cultural traces, the complexity of the world and its collective imagination, economic terrorism, lineage, chains, the appearance and reality of democracy, colonization, and so much more. He is the author of books such as We Won’t Budge: An African Exile in the World (2003), In Search of Africa (1998), Black American Cinema (1993), and African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992). His film credits include Bamako Sigi Kan (2002), Diaspora Conversation (2000), In Search of Africa (1999), Rouch in Reverse (1995), and Sembene Ousmane: The Making of African Cinema (1993, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Co-Director). 

For full article and interview with the director (in French), see http://www.africultures.com/php/index.php?nav=article&no=9595

For film description (in English), see http://cinema.cornell.edu/LateSpring10/one_world_in_relation_fo.html

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