Préface à des fusils pour Banta, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, French Guiana, 2011, 28' 24''
Foreword to Guns for Banta focuses on the lost film Guns for Banta (1970), the first feature-length film by Sarah Maldoror. Shot in Guinea-Bissau, Guns for Banta follows the life and untimely death of Awa, a countrywoman involved in the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Parallel to this semi-fictional narrative, the film offers rarely seen images of the involvement of women and children in the struggle.
Financed by the Algerian army, which hoped to turn it into a propaganda tool, the film was confiscated from Maldoror because of her demands for full control over the editing. To this day the reels have not been identified or returned. What remains of Guns for Banta are a collection of photographs taken by Suzanne Lipinska during the filming and fragmented memories of Sarah Maldoror and other witnesses, collected by Abonnenc over two years of conversations with the filmmaker.
As a retrospective foreword to an absent film, the diaporama tells the story of the artist's search for Guns for Banta and explores the figures of the militant, the filmmaker and the photographer, examining their respective functions in the making of a revolution. Speaking from these various positions, the voices-over highlight the relationship between revolution and cultural production in the context of the decolonisation of Africa. The juxtaposition of archival images, texts and the artist's reading of the material propose a reflection on the afterlife of the militant image.