In a rare work of pure fiction for Safi Faye, drawing from a Wolof legend, a teenager brings disaster to her village after defying an arranged marriage.
Mossane is a defiant 14-year-old beauty from a rural Serer village. She’s in love with Fara, a penniless young student, but is betrothed to Diogoye, a wealthy man who works abroad for a French conglomerate. On her wedding day, torn between tradition and her dreams, Mossane refuses to marry Diogoye and instead escapes, leading to tragic consequences for her townsfolk.
Completed in 1990 but not released until 1996 after a protracted battle between Faye and the film’s French producers, Mossane bowed to acclaim in Un Certain Regard at Cannes but remained largely unseen until its rediscovery years later. Exquisitely lensed by veteran Michael Haneke cinematographer Jürgen Jürges (Funny Games, MIFF 1998), whose striking use of colour showcases the vast grasslands and coastline of West Africa, Faye’s masterpiece explores the tension between tradition and modernity, drawing on Serer spirituality and ancient myth to deliver a moving account of resistance – one that gives powerful, unprecedented voice to Senegalese women.
Gorgeous [and] haunting … The film has a stark, Sophoclean emotional power.
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