Les Bicots-nègres, vos voisins in 35mm + introduction

Les Bicots-nègres, vos voisins, dir. Med Hondo, Mauritania-France 1974, 100 min., French with English soft titles 

Date: Wednesday 29 March 2023

Time: 8:45pm

Venue: ICA, Cinema 1


This screening will be introduced by film archivist Annabelle Aventurin.

Sharing formal and thematic features with the filmmaker’s celebrated debut Soleil Ô (1968), and with Nationalité: Immigré (1976) made by fellow Mauritanian director, Sidney Sokhona, Les Bicots-nègres, vos voisins, explores the experiences and reflections of migrant labourers living and working in France across the 1970s, dispelling the myths associated with conditions in ‘the motherland’. Here, Med Hondo creates arguably his most essayistic work, bringing together a variety of different approaches to creatively portray the realities of a postcolonial experience through addressing such topics as the question of filmic representation of Africa and the lived experiences of migrant workers, and in the process conceptualising a new cinema. By actively criticising (through an energetic and subversive lecture which opens the film) how Western cinema has depicted African culture, Hondo sets out what he intends for his own practice, creating a film object which both dissects and reconstructs the cinema, striving for an image which is capable of capturing the complexity of the situation of the fallout of France’s colonial project. In seeking to destroy and rebuild, across the course of the film, Hondo draws attention to the paradoxical nature of this gesture, resulting in a work which reflects the entanglements of colonialism and modernity.