Since the 1970s Med Hondo has gained a reputation as one of the most important experimental filmmakers of Africa, and his works have influenced numerous international filmmakers. Hondo was born in Mauritania in 1936, moved to Morocco as a teenager and later to France, where he has spent more than 50 years living in the diaspora. Fittingly, his works as an actor and filmmaker generally deal with mobility and such topics as slavery and immigrant labour, colonial occupation and its historiography, movements and sounds of the Black Atlantic, and resistance movements against suppression and ‘racial geography’. His intensive interest in transnational and postcolonial narratives of mobility, the identity and spatial relationships in his life and works convey a universalism ‘from below’ and are regarded as trendsetting by many of his colleagues.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Arsenal Berlin is organising an international and interdisciplinary festival in honour of Med Hondo, entitled “Cours, cours, camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi!” (Run, comrade, run, the old world is behind you!) which aims to make his works more widely accessible. In cooperation with The Bioscope in Johannesburg, the University of Bayreuth, the Goethe-Institut Yaoundé, the Othni–Laboratoire de Théâtre de Yaoundé, Cinéma Gorée in Dakar, Archive Books in Berlin, Éditions Jimsaan in Dakar und the Cinémathèque algérienne in Algiers, the project shall present film screenings, an exhibition of international artists, workshops and a publication which addresses current issues and features its leading protagonists.
The reason Med Hondo’s films are so significant is that they do not fit into any basic category, his cinematic style is one of spatial passage and referencing instead of a territorial occupation. His work serves as a reference for the black diaspora and migration culture which transcends national affiliation and cultural heritage. Consequently, many regard his works as forward-looking in terms of how they address the issues of globalisation, migration and integration.
Artistic directors: Enoka Ayemba (DE), Brigitta Kuster (DE)
Participating artists: Martin Ambarra (CM), Max Annas (DE), Ahmed Bedjaoui (DZ), Jean-Pierre Bekolo (CM), Madeleine Bernstorff (DE), Sebastian Bodirsky (DE), Kudzanai Chiurai (ZW), Darryl Els (ZA), Theo Eshetu (ET), Ute Fendler (DE), Suhaib Gasmelbari Mustafa (SD), June Givanni (GB), Veronique Joo'Aisenberg (FR), Med Hondo (MR/F), Astrid Kusser (D), Olivier Marboeuf (FR), Shaheen Merali (GB), Viktoria Ruth Luisa Metschl (AT), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (CM/D), Pedro Pimenta (MZ), Pascale Obolo (CM/F), Akin Omotoso (ZA), Philipp Scheffner (DE), Lyes Semiane (DZ), Abdoulaye Sounaye (NE/D), Guy Wouete (CM/BE)
1 Nov. 2017 – 8 Nov. 2017, French Film Festival Tübingen – film presentations
1 Dec. 2017 - 20 Dec. 2017, OTHNI-Laboratoire de Théâtre de Yaoundé / Goethe-Institut Yaoundé, Yaoundé – film presentations, think tank, artist presentations