Avant l'envol

Before the Flight
In 1960, the so-called Year of Africa, many African countries liberate themselves from European colonial powers and become independent, including the Ivory Coast. Independence leads to a real boom in architecture. In Abidjan, the then-capital, buildings must be constructed for the parliament, university, banks and conference centres. The extravagant, heroic, modern buildings are designed to reflect the spirit of the young nation and epitomise that which was achieved: Hope, curiosity, ambition and new self-confidence. Laurence Bonvin visits these buildings in the present day and is particularly interested in the work of the French architect Henri Chomette, who immigrated to Ethiopia in 1949. A distinct focus is thereby placed on those who visit and use his buildings. How does this architecture function today? Their view to opulent futurism allows space for gestures and an informal approach beyond the great historical narrative.
by Laurence Bonvin Switzerland 2016 Without dialogue 20’ Colour Documentary form


Director Laurence Bonvin
Screenplay Laurence Bonvin, Cheikh Ndiaye
Cinematography Laurence Bonvin

Produced by

Laurence Bonvin

Born in Sierre in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, she studied photography at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles, France. Her documentary still photography and films focus on the transformations of urban peripheries, natural and social landscapes, segregation, human displacements and the architecture of power. She began working in Switzerland before extending into the Netherlands, Georgia, Berlin, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Abidjan and Dakar. Her work has been exhibited extensively around the world and has screened at film festivals.

Filmography (short films)

2013 After Vegas; co-director: Stéphane Degoutin · After Vegas; co-director: Stéphane Degoutin 2014 Sounds of Blikkiesdorp · Sounds of Blikkiesdorp 2016 Avant l'envol (Before the Flight) · Avant l'envol (Before the Flight) 2019 Aletsch Negative

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020