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Filming Africa: Myths and Legends

27 January 2015 5:41 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

 35 Cows and a Kalishnokov

What is the bond between a tribe of Ethiopian cattle farmers, dandy gentlemen parading themselves on Brazzaville streets, and the Kinshasan fetish wrestlers who appear in 35 Cows and a Kalishnokov in the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam’s (Idfa) competition this year? To propose a documentary about such a bond, an act of synthesis would be necessary, one which first deconstructs the rites and peoples exhibited, creating a web of meaning that would link the rituals.

Or, as in 35 Cows and a Kalishnokov, one could make a purely aesthetic film whose theoretical basis is but a shared continent, exotic landscapes and black skin. What director Oswold von Richthofen’s documentary offers up to its (inevitably) Western viewers is an image of Africa that is all color and form—rippling musculature, exotic hues, pierced faces, wild cries—regurgitating as always the same Western myth of Africa, a »

- Yaron Dahan

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