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Djembefola

Born in Guinea in 1950, Mamady Keita, one of the three greatest malinké drummers, was a soloist for 22 years in the famous national ballet Djoliba, founded by Sékou Touré. Today he lives in Belgium. After 26 years’ absence, he returns to his village amidst general exultation, festivities and emotion. An extraordinary testimony of authenticity and intensity.

We are directly plunged into the heart of Africa, in Upper Guinea, the cradle of age-old traditions. Our “djembefola” (djembe drum player) knows most of the three hundred malinké rhythms and their meaning. He is one of the last to have been initiated by village practice, unlike the percussionists formed in ballets. Harry Belafonte was fascinated by the child (nicknamed “He who was born for that”), then aged 17, and recruited him for his film Africa Dance. Based on an idea by Pierre Marcault (a djembe specialist and a former percussionist for Jacques Higelin), this documentary was shot live on the spot. There is nothing artificial or exotic in this film in which each scene is spontaneous, including the crucial one where the djembe virtuoso is reunited with his family.

Chevallier, Laurent

Laurent Chevallier was born on June 6, 1955. His cinema studies in Paris were oriented from the start towards documentary since he wrote a memoir on the "father" of documentary film, Robert Flaherty (Nanouk l'esquimau, L'Homme d'Aran), and on Joris Ivens (who shot his last film, A Story of Wind, in China at the age of ninety with the presence of Laurent Chevallier on camera).
After his studies, he was an assistant cameraman or director of photography for numerous directors (Jean-Jacques Beineix, Jacques Rouffio, René Allio, Gérard Mordillat, Patrice Leconte, Gérard Oury).
From 1979, he made numerous documentaries for television in France, at Cape Horn, in the Himalayas, at the North Pole, in Patagonia, in Thailand, in Italy, in Ireland, in Pakistan, in China, in Canada, in the USA, Australia, Uganda and Guinea.
In 1989, he directed his first feature film on the Antarctic continent, Au Sud du Sud, dedicated to the crossing of the Antarctic by Jean-Louis Étienne.
In 1990, Djembefola, his first African film, took him to Guinea Conakry, a country which would strongly attract him to the point of subsequently directing L'Enfant noir (1995 - adapted from the novel by Camara Laye, and selected for the Directors' Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival), Circus Baobab (2000), Hadja Moï (2005), Momo the Dean (2006), African Experience (2008), The Trace of Kandia (2014).
Among his Guinean films, he devotes pride of place to Morocco (La Vie sans Brahim in 2001, La Pépinière du Desert in 2008).
Several of his works have been selected and awarded prizes at international festivals.
Originally from the Grenoble region, Laurent Chevallier is an experienced skier and mountaineer. He also acts as an occasional training instructor in shooting and documentary at La Fémis (France), at the Master 2 in creative documentary filmmaking at Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis (Senegal) and at the Imagine institute in Ouagadougou (Burkina). Faso).
Source: film-documentaire.fr

Djembefola

Artistic direction / Conception : Pierre Marcault, Laurent Chevallier

Other collaborations : Réalisation : Laurent Chevallier

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Rhéa Films Productions ; Arcanal

Duration : 67'

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