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Film Screening

Preview: Projections of Panafrica

06.01.2024 07:00 PM

Event Summary

IMAGE: © René Vautier, Courtesy of Annouchka de Andrade.

This event, organized as part of the Pan-Africa research project at the Neubauer Collegium, inaugurates a citywide constellation of exhibitions and events that explore Pan-Africanism in association with the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition Project a Black Planet: The Art and Culture of Panafrica. Opening in December 2024, this major exhibition is the first to survey modern and contemporary cultural activity through an expressly Pan-Africanist lens. Pan-Africanism generally evokes political action: calls for equality, self-determination, and solidarity among Black peoples worldwide. Art and culture have often been given a secondary role. Yet since its articulation in the early 20th century, Pan-Africanism has always involved rich practices of aesthetic experimentation and cultural representation. These practices continue to shape Pan-African political projects in the present.The event will begin with a screening of Monangambééé (1968), the début film by Sarah Maldoror (1929–2020), introduced by members of the Project a Black Planet curatorial team. A listening session with DJ Rae Chardonnay will explore local connections to the film, which includes music by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and show how Pan-Africanist cultural production has emerged from Chicago and continues to circulate in this city. A discussion and reception will follow.

About the Film

Monangambééé (1968, Sarah Maldoror, 18 mins.)
Filmed in Algeria, conceived by a French filmmaker with roots in Guadeloupe and training from the Soviet Union, and centered on Portuguese torture tactics in Angola, Monangambééé epitomizes the imagination of a Black Planet forged by scrambling colonialist geographies. The title (“White Death!”) was a warning from the days of enslavement repurposed by Angolan activists as a rallying cry. This is the first film by Maldoror, a Parisian theater director turned cinema auteur, who took her art name from the proto-Surrealist classic The Songs of Maldoror, and used free-jazz experiments by the Art Ensemble of Chicago as the soundtrack to this short-form paean to revolutionary action. As Maldoror sharply proclaimed, “I feel at home wherever I am. I am from everywhere and from nowhere.”

Presented by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and Arts + Public Life.