[1] I am very thankful to the many reviewers of the visual and critical essay for their careful reading, generous support, and valuable advice. I especially would like to thank my professor Natalie Melas for introducing me to Abderrhamane Sissako’s films, and for her inspiration and encouragement to complete this work. I also would like to thank the editors of Jump Cut, and the many proofreaders and commentators of both essays: Patricia Waelder, Caleb Haines, Kathleen Haines, Ross Getman, Neal Allard, Yen Vu, and Maria Flood. [return to page 5]

[2] Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Mauritania in 1961. He grew up in Mali, was trained as a filmmaker in Russia (like Sembène Ousmane) and now resides in France. Since Life on Earth, he has released three feature films: Waiting for Hapiness (2002), Bamako (2006) and more recently Timbuktu (2014) which was selected to compete for the Palme d’or in Cannes and won seven France’s Cesar awards in February 2015; Sissako’s work has confirmed his talent as one of the most prominent African film-makers.

[3] I am borrowing the concept of “chrono-politics” and “pluriversality” to Walter Mignolo from his book entitled The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Future, Decolonial Option. Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2011. Those terms will be explained in the course of the demonstration.

[4] Rachel Gabara, cited by Hamblin. See Sarah Hamblin, “Toward a Transnational African Cinema: Image and Authenticity in La vie sur terre,Black Camera, vol. 3, n.2 (2012), p.13.

[5] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2. The time-image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1989. p.41.

[6] Hamblin, pp.16-18.

[7] Interview with the director Abderrahmane Sissako, Fiche techniques
Accessed March 23, 2016.

[7b] Mignolo uses imaginary in the sense of Edouard Glissant. The imaginary for Glissant encompasses “the ways, conflictive and contradictory, a culture has of perceiving and conceiving of the world.” (Mignolo, p.152)

[8] Coloniality is a key concept of Mignolo’s work. Its meaning is broader that colonialism : “it is a colonial matrix of power through which world order has been created and managed.” (Mignolo, p.171.)

[9] Mignolo, p.160.

[10] See: Edouard Glissant, “The Quarrel with History.” Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. Trans. Michael Dash. Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1992, p.61-65. See: Mignolo, pp.149-180.

[11] Glissant, p. 64.

[12 ] A. James Arnold, Modernism and Negritude. The Poetry and Poetics of Aimé Césaire. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1981, p. 10.

[13 ] Aimé Césaire, “Cahier d’un retour au pays natal.” Volontés 20, 1939.  

[14] Aimé Césaire, Retorno al pais natal. La Havana, Molina, 1943.

[15] Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. New York, Brentanos, bilingual edition, 1947.

[16] Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal.Paris, Présence Africaine, 1956.

[17] Nathalie Mélas, All the difference in the world: postcoloniality and the end of comparison, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2007, p. 173

[18] Edouard Glissant, “Aimé Césaire: The Poet’s Passion” Small Axe 27 (Oct. 2008), p. 121.

[19] Aimé Césaire, Discours sur le colonialisme. Paris, Présence Africaine, 1955.

[20] Mignolo, p.178. [return to page 6]

[21] Aimé Césaire, Discours sur le colonialisme, pp.14-15.

[22] G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, trans. J. Sibree, New York, Dover Publications, 1956, p. 18.

[23] David Eltis, “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, http://www.slavevoyages.org/assessment/essay
Accessed July 6, 2016.

[24] Among the most contentious part of the speech:

“The tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history. The African peasant, who for thousands of years has lived according to the seasons, whose life ideal was to be in harmony with nature, only knew the eternal renewal of time, rhythmed by the endless repetition of the same gestures and the same words.

In this imaginary world where everything starts over and over again there is no place for human adventure or for the idea of progress. In this universe where nature commands all, man escapes from the anguish of history that torments modern man, but he rests immobile in the centre of a static order where everything seems to have been written beforehand.

This man (the traditional African) never launched himself towards the future. The idea never came to him to get out of this repetition and to invent his own destiny. The problem of Africa, and allow a friend of Africa to say it, is to be found here. Africa’s challenge is to enter to a greater extent into history. To take from it the energy, the force, the desire, the willingness to listen and to espouse its own history.

Africa’s problem is to stop always repeating, always mulling over, to liberate itself from the myth of the eternal return. It is to realize that the golden age that Africa is forever recalling will not return because it has never existed. Africa’s problem is that it lives the present too much in nostalgia for a lost childhood paradise.”

From the unofficial translation in English, http://www.africaresource.com/essays-a-reviews/essays-a-discussions/

Accessed June 28, 2016.

The speech recycled without any subtlety the old racial prejudice prevalent in the colonial era and has generated many criticisms, especially from African scholars. See for example, Makhily Gassama, ed., L’Afrique répond à Sarkozy. Contre le discours de Dakar, Paris, Philippe Rey, février 2008; Jean-Pierre Chrétien, ed., L’Afrique de Sarkozy. Un déni d’histoire, Karthala, juin 2008; Adamé Ba Konaré, ed., Petit précis de remise à niveau sur l’histoire africaine à l’usage du president Sarkosy. Paris, La Découverte, 2008.

[25] Sébastin Dossa Sotindjo, “Pérennité des structures de dépendance et reproduction du sous-développement: le cas du Bénin (ex-Dahomey) de la colonization à aujourd’hui. In Adamé Ba Konaré, ed., Petit précis de remise à niveau sur l’histoire africaine à l’usage du president Sarkosy. Paris, La Découverte, 2008, pp. 227-239.

[26] Sotindjo, p.238.

[27] See: Ministère de l’économie et des finances, République du Mali, “Situation économique et sociale du Mali en 2000 et perspectives pour 2001” http://www.malikunnafoni.com/bibliostat/docs/030107037_dnpd-dnsi_2001.pdf Accessed July 13, 2016.

[28] On the history of the colonial cotton development, see: Richard L. Roberts, Two worlds of cotton. Colonialism and the regional economy in the French Soudan, 1800-1946. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996.

[29] Derrida- a Film by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman (2002).
Derrida explains the differentiation of the future and the future to come or “l’avenir”:

“In general, I try to distinguish between what one calls the future and “l’avenir.” The future is that which – tomorrow, later, next century – will be. There’s a future which is predictable, programmed, scheduled, foreseeable. But there is a future, l’avenir (to come) which refers to someone who comes, whose arrival is totally unexpected. For me, that is the real future. That which is totally unpredictable. The Other who comes without my being able to anticipate their arrival. So if there is a real future beyond this other known future, it’s l’avenir in that it’s the coming of the Other when I am completely unable to foresee their arrival.”

[30] Mignolo, op.cit. p.175.

[31] See: Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2007.