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Senegal, Italian cinema at the Festival of Black Arts

Senegal, cinema italiano al Festival delle Arti Negre
Senegal, cinema italiano al Festival delle Arti Negre

A review of Italian documentaries and movies related to the World Festival of Black Arts, which was held in April 1966 in Dakar, highlighting Italy’s contribution to the success of the Festival, began yesterday, February 17, and will continue until March 10, 2022 in the Senegalese capital. The event “C’era una volta il ’66” is organised by the Italian Cultural Institute in Dakar, together with the Italian Embassy and under the patronage of the Cinema Directorate of the Senegalese Ministry of Culture, upon the proposal of the Atelier MamiWata Association, committed to preserving and enhancing the Senegalese audiovisual archives. Documents on the 1966 Festival were, in fact, recently found in these archives. They highlight the interesting history of cultural and cinema relations between Italy and Senegal, which they want to enhance with the current Festival.

At the opening of the Festival, at the IFAN-Theodore Monod Museum, the documentary “The Dakar Festival”, filmed during the event in 1966 by the journalist Sergio Borelli and granted by theRai Teche Department, was screened for the first time in Senegal. It is one of the rare reports produced on the Festival, which was the first and one of the major pan-African cultural events of the Continent and the Diaspora. At the time, Italy not only distinguished itself for the organisation of the cinema section, but was also a protagonist in the competition with six movies, including “Alla Scoperta dell’Africa” by Folco Quilici, which won the Silver Antelope, the prize for the best documentary film.

Two episodes of Quilici’s series (“Gli anni del risorgimento” and “L’Africa scopre sé stessa“) will be screened during the current Festival, as well as two movies by Gianni Amico, “We insist! Suite per la libertà subito” and “Appunti per un film sul jazz”, in competition at the Festival, which tell the story of jazz in the context of the struggle for the Afro-Americans’ rights. At the end of the programme, Vittorio De Sica’s “Miracolo a Milano” (Miracle in Milan) will be screened, a movie mentioned in the Senegalese archives’ documents, destined to supplement the national film archives’ collection.