Kaddu Beykat

Letter from My Village
The ongoing drought in a Senegalese village has decimated millet and peanut farmers’ yields. The catastrophic damage brought about by the colonial era’s agricultural monoculture is becoming ever more palpable; farm labourer Ngor is now unable to afford the dowry for his lover Coumba and thus sets off to Dakar to try his luck with odd jobs. Filmmaker Safi Faye – who studied ethnology – frames the action with her own comments, thus creating an audiovisual letter about her home village. Shot in three weeks with a small team, this docufiction is the remarkable product of her participatory collaboration with the villagers – among them her grandfather, who died shortly after filming wrapped. Safi Faye was the first sub-Saharan woman director whose films received commercial distribution. Her powerful oeuvre has thus far received all too little scholarly attention, even while receiving acclaim for how it looks at the experience of women and children in rural areas. The film will be shown as a tribute to Faye to mark the first anniversary of her death, accompanied by a talk where she will be remembered in conversation with guests.
by Safi Faye
with Assane Faye, Maguette Gueye
Senegal 1975 French, Wolof 93’ Black/White Documentary form | Distribution:<br/>Arsenal - Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.<br/>+49 30 269 551 50<br/>distribution@arsenal-berlin.de


  • Assane Faye
  • Maguette Gueye


Director Safi Faye
Screenplay Safi Faye
Cinematography Patrick Fabry
Editing Andrée Davanture
Music Charles Diouf, Maya Bracher

Produced by

Safi Productions

Additional information

Arsenal - Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.
+49 30 269 551 50

Safi Faye

Born in the village of Fad’jal near Dakar, Senegal in 1943, she worked as a teacher before going on to study ethnology and film in Paris. She made her first short film The Passerby in 1972. Her prize-winning feature-length debut Letter from My Village (Berlinale Forum 1976) brought her international fame. In 1979, Faye came to the Freie Universität Berlin for a video workshop and subsequently stayed on in the city with a grant from the DAAD. It was in this period that her ZDF-produced film I, Your Mother was made. Mossane was her last film. Safi Faye died in Paris on February 22, 2023.

Filmography (selection)

1972 La passante (The Passerby); 10 min. 1976 Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village); 97 min. 1979 Fad’jal (Come and Work); 113 min. · Goob na nu (The Harvest Is In); 29 min. 1980 Man sa yay (I, Your Mother); 59 min. 1981 Les âmes au soleil (Souls under the Sun); 27 min. 1982 Selbe et tant d’autres (Selbe: One Among Many); 32 min. 1983 3 ans 5 mois (Three Years Five Months) 1984 Ambassades nourricières (Culinary Embassies) 1985 Elsie Haas, femme peintre et cinéaste d'Haiti (Elsie Haas, Haitian Woman Painter and Filmmaker) · Racines noires (Black Roots) 1989 Tesito; 30 min. 1996 Mossane; 106 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024