A Thousand Suns: Traversing the Archive and Transforming Documentary in Mati Diop's Mille Soleils

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This article explores the aesthetic and political implications of the 2013 experimental short Mille Soleils (A Thousand Suns) by the Franco-Senegalese director Mati Diop. Placing it within the specific context of Djibril Diop Mambety's legendary 1973 feature, Touki Bouki, which it references directly, the article reveals how Diop (Mambety's niece) crafts an urgent, sensuous, and highly original form of documentary fiction that draws on, and extends, the historical impurity of African documentary. By plugging into the rich intertextual imaginary of cinema and engaging poetically with notions of found footage and the everyday (including that of Touki-Bouki's main actor, Magaye Niang, still living in Dakar forty years later), Mille Soleils, as Williams argues, produces an inclusive wide frame open simultaneously to the personal and historical, social and political. In the process, it both projects a new vision of documentary form and reconceives the very nature of the archive in African cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalFilm Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2016

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