Med Hondo, voice of Eddie Murphy and political director

the essential
The Cinémathèque de Toulouse pays tribute to the Franco-Mauritanian filmmaker Med Hondo through eight powerful films on colonialism and postcolonialism.

If he was the French voice of Eddie Murphy, Morgan Freeman and… the donkey of “Shrek”, Med Hondo was a filmmaker who, like John Cassavetes, “made the actor” to finance and shoot his films in a fiercely independent gesture. Med Hondo (1935-2019) was “a militant filmmaker, denouncing the conditions of immigrants, the postcolonialism that followed Independence, and offering a reading of colonial history from the point of view of the colonized”, explains Franck Lubet, head of the programming at the Cinémathèque. Settled in France at the beginning of the 1960s, Med Hondo decided that, since he “tells different stories, (s) one cinema must be different”.

“Pure bubbling chaos”

Different – ​​and explosive. In its Marxist political content and in its form. His first films, observes Franck Lubet, are “a pure chaos bubbling with inventions which diffuse a critical discourse in an aggregate of sequences which oscillate between irony and didacticism.” Thus we will move from the famous opening facing the camera of “Bicots-Nègres, vos neighbors” (1973), to this scene of “Soleil Ô” (1970) where a mixed couple walks on a Parisian boulevard of the 1960s under the gaze of disapproving passers-by filmed with a hidden camera – in the same film, this shot where exhausted Africans hold huge crosses at arm’s length is incredibly powerful. Of a deep originality, the cinema of Hondo is multiple, abundant. Formally enthralling (the knife scene in “West Indies, the Maroons of Freedom” (1979), this astonishing musical comedy on a single stage, is a striking proof of this, as is the superb tracking shot which opens it), this cinema is never a filmed leaflet. It is cash, it has the force of a punch to the chin, but precisely because whistleblowers and the science of framing and editing combine perfectly to deliver a unique and captivating work.

Cycle Med Hondo, until Thursday March 23 at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse (69, rue du Taur). Complete program on On Wednesday March 15 at 7 p.m., Abdoul Ali War, who worked with Med Hondo, will present “Sarraounia” (1986).