African Mirror

Europeans in particular have always projected their ideas of the continent onto Africa in grand fashion. This specific view is less a consequence of (post-)colonialism than its precondition. African Mirror depicts this complex relationship by way of example. In Switzerland, a country without its own colonies, travel writer, photographer, filmmaker and public speaker René Gardi (1909–2000) shaped a whole generation’s image of Africa. Using Gardi’s extensive stock of footage, mainly of Cameroon, and recordings as well as texts from his unpublished diaries, Mischa Hedinger has constructed a film essay using only archive material, which seeks less to create a portrait of an adventurer than to carry out a work of cinematographic field research. It is about the transcontinental history of media, their means of production and how in 20th-century Switzerland both were influenced significantly by one flamboyant character. African Mirror does indeed function as a mirror which equally serves to reflect on present-day images of Africa – and not only for the Swiss.
by Mischa Hedinger Switzerland 2019 German, Swiss German, French 84’ Colour & Black/White Documentary form


Written and Directed by Mischa Hedinger
Editing Mischa Hedinger, Philipp Diettrich
Dramaturgy Philipp Diettrich
Music Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt)
Sound Design Fabian Gutscher
Producers Simon Baumann ton und bild, Urs Augstburger Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Mischa Hedinger

Born in Jegenstorf, Switzerland in 1984. He studied Video, as well as Design, Art and Film. Hedinger lives and works as a freelance filmmaker and editor in Zurich.


2013 Assessment; 49 min. 2019 African Mirror

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019