‘Dancing The Twist In Bamako’ Opens Feb. 24 At Film Forum

DANCING THE TWIST IN BAMAKO on Friday, February 24
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Photo: Film Forum

Film Forum is pleased to present the US theatrical premiere of Robert Guédiguian’s DANCING THE TWIST IN BAMAKO on Friday, February 24. The 1960s were a time of change everywhere, and that includes Bamako, the capital city of Mali, a nation only recently independent from French colonial rule. DANCING THE TWIST IN BAMAKO is a romance fraught with the drama of political change, infused with the musical energy of that decade. Samba, a young, idealistic socialist, works toward creating a more just nation by day and dances with girlfriend Lara to the Beach Boys, Otis Redding, and the Supremes by night.

The film’s sensibility is inspired by the vibrant images, patterns, and compositions of famed Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé, who documented the styles and ebullient culture of postcolonial Malian youth. Lara’s orange silk dress and Samba’s dazzling white suit, shot against the striped backdrop of their dance club and the black and white checked dance floor they cut up – all suggest that change is coming rapidly, and that life is for living.

Robert Guédiguian (whose 2019 film GLORIA MUNDI earned a best actress prize at Venice Film Festival) collaborated on DANCING THE TWIST IN BAMAKO with César award-winning screenwriter Gilles Taurand (HEAL THE LIVING, FAREWELL MY QUEEN) to explore a lesser-known side of Mali’s history, with a powerful love story in a country torn between tradition and revolution. Retrospectives of Guédiguian’s work have been presented internationally in Paris, Italy, and Australia.

“A story nourished by simplicity, enthusiasm, and even the touching naivety of youth, against the backdrop of a utopia of class struggle confronted by "realpolitik." A dive into the past, punctuated by a multitude of hits from the early 60s whose fragrance of effervescent happiness is tinged with nostalgia and tragedy, like a challenge to time and the dictates of the mind… Robert Guediguian’s entire cinematographic oeuvre (22 feature films) is permeated by an unwavering fidelity to the necessity of the class struggle, filtered through the intimate." – Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa

“Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, in graphic, vigorous, black-and-white pictures, Malick Sidibé captured the dynamism and joy of a rapidly changing West Africa. In particular, he honed in on the vernaculars of style: the brash suits, the purposefully clashing prints, the girls pairing their headdresses with their cat-eye shades, the little kids in full tribal costume and face paint, the dancers kicking off their shoes. The party, the club, the dance floor—these were his settings, the places where people came to be seen and dressed the part.” – Rebecca Bengal, Vogue (on the work of Malick Sidibé)

DANCING THE TWIST IN BAMAKO (2021, 129 min) Directed by Robert Guédiguian. Written by Gilles Taurand and Guédiguian. Producer: Malek Hamzaoui. Director of Photography: Pierre Milon. Editor: Bernard Sasia. With Stéphane Bak (Samba), Alice Da Luz (Lara), Saabo Balde (Jules), Bakary Diombera (Badian), Ahmed Dramé (Bakary), Diouc Koma (Namori), Miveck Packa (Bintou), Issaka Sawadogo (Lassana). France / Senegal / Canada. In French and Bambara with English subtitles. ArtMattan Films.

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