Soleil Ô

Oh, Sun!
The very first minutes of Med Hondo’s debut film already impress with a wealth of ideas that made this winner of Locarno’s Golden Leopard award stand out even in the crowded field of political cinema in the early 1970s. Following an animated intro full of black humour, the ways in which colonial powers subjugated the African continent (religion, violence, money) are called to mind in a dreamily absurd sequence. Only then does the actual narrative begin: the story of a young man who arrives in Paris from Africa with high hopes, but soon realises that the society of the colonisers won’t give him a chance – and that he is subject to a racism that can be either brutally direct or issued from behind a liberal mask. This is a film as an internal monologue sprinkled with bits of cinéma vérité, montage learned from Eisenstein, and many moments of sardonic humour that conceal a profound despair.
by Med Hondo
With Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Gabriel Glissand, Greg Germain, Mabousso Lô, Alfred Panou, Ambroise M'Bia, Akonio Dolo, Georges Hilarion, Djibrill, Les Black Echoes, Jean Edmond
France / Mauritania 1970 French,  Arabic 104’ Black/White

With

  • Robert Liensol
  • Théo Légitimus
  • Gabriel Glissand
  • Greg Germain
  • Mabousso Lô
  • Alfred Panou
  • Ambroise M'Bia
  • Akonio Dolo
  • Georges Hilarion
  • Djibrill
  • Les Black Echoes
  • Jean Edmond

Crew

Written and directed byMed Hondo
CinematographyFrançois Catonné, Jean-Claude Rahaga
EditingMichèle Masnier, Clément Menuet
MusicGeorges Anderson
SoundJean Paul Loublier, Yves Allard, Alain Contreau
Production DesignMed Hondo

Additional information

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Med Hondo. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project.
This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO--in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna--to help locate, restore, and disseminate 50 African films with historic, artistic, and cultural significance.

Med Hondo

Born in Atar, Mauritania in 1936. At the end of the 1950s, he emigrated to France, founding a theatre group in Paris and turning to film. In the mid-1960s, he began shooting his first feature film Soleil Ô which attracted international attention. In his subsequent films, Hondo addressed the history of the African continent and its diaspora. He died in Paris in 2019.

Filmography

1969 Balade aux sources (Ballad to the Springs); 25 min. · Partout ou peut-être nulle part (Everywhere, or Maybe Nowhere); 30 min. 1973 Les Bicots-nègres, vos voisins (Arabs and Niggers, Your Neighbours); 190 min. 1977 Nous aurons toute la mort pour dormer; 160 min. 1979 West Indies, ou les nègres marrons de la liberté (West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty); 110 min. 1986 Sarraounia; 120 min., Forum 1987 1994 Lumière noire (Black Light); 104 min. 1998 Watani, un monde sans mal; 78 min. 2004 Fatima, l’Algérienne de Dakar (Fatima, the Algerian Woman of Dakar); 89 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020