The second film from legendary master Oumarou Ganda who had gotten his start in films by playing the lead role in Jean Rouch’s Moi, Un Noir in 1959, is a good example of the double edged sword narrative so characteristic of him. A practicing Muslim takes the title of al-Hajj on his return from Mecca. However, this doesn’t stop him from lusting after the young Satou, promised to Garba. Furious, Garba feels he has no choice but to leave the village for the town. Yet a more serious tragedy is afoot: al-Hajj’s second wife, Gaika, does not accept the newcomer and, to prevent the marriage, decides to kill her the night before the wedding. —amakula.com
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