Contras’city is one of the earliest work of Djibril Diop Mambéty, the short film was shot on 16mm film in 1968 in Dakar (Sénégal), exactly eight years after the independence of the country. The entire movie is a stroll in the streets of Dakar, from the theater to the market or from hairdressers to tailors, the beauty of those modest daily scenes is undeniable. And how not to be moved by the common presence of precolonial African elements juxtaposing with the neocolonialist African context. Djibril Diop Mambéty sure has a sarcastic approach to the situation, for example while filming in front of the baroque theater the narrator’s voice goes “En faite t’as pas tord, ça fait un peu pâtisserie mais ça pourrait être un théâtre!” translated in English by “Actually, you’re not so wrong, it looks a bit like pastry but it could be a theater.“. The opening of the movie, a short dialog between a man and a woman, is also pretty outstanding:
- Oh ma douce France!
- Ta douce France n’a pas l’air de bien supporter le soleil! Sa france…! Et bien mon petit, ça c’est Dakar!
- Oh my sweet France!
- Your sweet France apparently can’t stand the sun! Her France..! Sweetie, this is Dakar!
You probably got it, there are various reasons to watch Contras’city, the architecture, the soundtrack, the critical point of view, the analog images…