Cabascabo, a veteran of the French colonial army in Indochina, returns to his home town in Niger, acclaimed by friends and relatives. In fragmented flash-backs, he tells the story of his adventure and the battles in that distant land, “way beyond Mecca”… With his friends at the bar and the prostitutes in the night-clubs, any opportunity is good to boast about his adventures. For some time he basks in his glory as a veteran but, after squandering all he has, he cannot find work. Nobody respects his rank, not even at the building site where he is treated as a slave by his fellow workers. To survive with dignity, he can only go back and work the land, returning to his origins in rural society. —Toronto Film Festival
Ganda was born in Niamey, the capital of Niger, in 1935 and was of Djerma ethnicity. He completed his primary studies in Niamey and at the age of 16 joined the French Far East Expeditionary Corps as a soldier from 1951 to 1955. After spending two years in Asia during the First Indochina War he returned to Niger, where he was unable to find work. He emigrated to Côte d’Ivoire and became a longshoreman in the port of Abidjan. There he met French anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch. Rouch was interested in the Nigerien community in Côte d’Ivoire and hired Ganda as a statistician for his research on immigration.
It was Rouch who introduced Ganda to the cinema. Ganda had a small role in Rouch’s 1957 film Zazouman de Treichville, and the lead role in Moi un Noir (I, a Negro) in 1958. A few years later he returned to Niamey, where he became involved in the Franco-Nigerien Cultural Center. In the Center’s Culture and Cinema club he met technicians who offered training in directing… read more