“Dahomey,” a documentary directed by Cannes prizewinner Mati Diop (“Atlantique”) and slated for the Berlinale competition, will be represented internationally by Paris-based Les Films du Losange.
The feature marks the directorial comeback of the French-Senegalese talent after winning the Grand Prize at Cannes with “Atlantique” in 2019. Diop, who is also a well-known actor (“Fire”), is considered one of the leading lights in a new wave of African and diaspora cinema.
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In “Dahomey,” Diop explores the issue of colonization through the story of precious artworks restituted to Benin in November 2021 after being stolen by French colonizers in 1892, when the African country was called the Kingdom of Dahomey.
The documentary follows the journey of 26 royal treasures plundered by French colonial troops in the Kingdom of Dahomey, which have been exhibited at the Musée du Quai de Branly in Paris and are being returned to Cotonou in Benin. Diop “bring the artifacts back to life and gives a voice to the demands of a new generation through a stylized and innovative mise-en-scène,” Les Films du Losange said in a statement. The documentary has a political dimension, weaving in debates raging among students in the country’s University of Abomey-Calavi.
The movie reteams Diop with “Atlantique” producers at Les Films du Bal and Senegal’s Fanta Sy. Les Films du Losange is handling international sales and will distribute the documentary in France.
“Dahomey” is one of the several French co-productions announced as part of the Berlinale competition, alongside Abderrahman Sissako’s “Black Tea,” another film focusing on the African diaspora.
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