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.

Wavelengths

A Thousand Suns

Mati Diop

Playing as part of A Thousand Suns followed by Letter to a Refusing Pilot

Though an unlikely pairing on the surface, Mati Diop's award-winning 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.

Diop, whose Atlantiques and Big in Vietnam were both featured in Wavelengths, has made her most ambitious film yet with this documentary about Magaye Niang, the lead actor of Touki-Bouki, the 1972 classic made by the director's legendary filmmaker uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. Shot in Dakar and Alaska, Mille Soleils mystifies as it searches for an origin, its lineage and its transcendent deviations, flouting its own premise as fantasy merges with reality: the sad-eyed cattle herder who embodied the seminal role in Touki-Bouki forty years ago is now filled with longing for the vanished past and a future that was never meant to be. A film of haunting beauty, both sensuous and febrile, Mille Soleils is intimate and raw but also refreshingly quixotic, and confirms Mati Diop as a major cinematic talent.

Taking a cue from Albert Camus' epistolary essay "Letters to a German Friend," in Letter to a Refusing Pilot celebrated 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 on June 6, 1982 in south Lebanon. Oscillating between documentary, essay and fiction, this elegant and multi-layered film combines personal and archival documents as it seeks to recuperate historical truth from the annals of personal reminiscence, laced with both enchantment and fear. Framed like a coming-of-age filled with wonderment and insuperable curiosity, Letter to a Refusing Pilot humanizes a personal gesture in face of a greater conflict.

ANDRÉA PICARD

Screenings

Wed Sep 11

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Regular
9:45pm
Thu Sep 12

Jackman Hall

Regular
2:30pm