Though an unlikely pairing on the surface, Mati Diop’s award-winning A Thousand Suns (Mille Soleils) and Akram Zaatari’s Venice Biennale commission Letter to a Refusing Pilot are both dreamy, moving, and exceedingly personal quests through time, space and memory.
A Thousand Suns, Mati Diop (45 minutes):
Actress and filmmaker Mati Diop fuses documentary and fantasy in this hauntingly beautiful portrait of Magaye Niang, star of her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty's 1972 classic Touki-Bouki.
Djibril Diop Mambety filmed Touki Bouki in 1972. Mory and Anta are in love. The two young lovers share the same dream of leaving Dakar to go to Paris, but when the time comes, Anta heads off and Mory stays on the quays, alone and incapable of facing the demands of his land. Forty years later, A Thousand Suns (Mille Soleils) investigates the personal and universal heritage of Touki Bouki. What has happened since then? The hero in the film, Magaye Niang, has never left Dakar, and now, the old cowboy wonders what happened to Anta, the love of his youth. Family stories, exile and cinema blend in intimate and mythical spheres.
Letter to a Refusing Pilot, Akram Zaatari (34 minutes):
Lebanese artist-filmmaker Zaatari conducts both an investigation and a stirring tribute to an act of resistance (or forbearance) that marked his childhood memories: the refusal of an Israeli pilot to bomb a boys' high school in south Lebanon in 1982.
In the summer of 1982, a rumour made the rounds about an Israeli fighter pilot who had been ordered to bomb a target in Lebanon. Knowing the building was a school, he veered off course and dropped his bombs into the sea instead. Letter to a Refusing Pilot is a film that tells the story of a public school and the public housing project that surrounds it in Saida, and reflects on refusal as a decisive and generative act. The work considers the excavation of narratives and the circulation of images in times of war.