2010 december 10-17, thiruvananthapuram
Organised by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy
for the Department of Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Kerala
Sotigui Kouyate: Bridging Cultures through Art
“I’m a storyteller, a griot... Our strength lies in our culture. Everything I do as a storyteller, a griot, stems from this rooting and openness”, said actor, dancer, musician and composer Sotigui Kouyaté, one of the first Burkinabé (a landlocked country in West Africa) actors. In a befitting honour to the master actor, the 15th IFFK has included a package titled ‘Tribute’, showcasing his five finest films.
An important bridge between African and Western cultures for 40 years, Sotigui Kouyaté was born in Mali to Gambian parents and made Burkinabe by adoption. , As a child, he enjoyed koteba (traditional African performance) and had a craze for football.. Kouyaté began his theatre career in 1966, when he appeared as adviser to the king in a historical play produced by his friend Boubacar Dicko. That year, he founded a theatre company in 1966 with 25 people and soon wrote his first play, ‘The Crocodile’s Lament’. From 1990 to 1996 Kouyaté toured the United States and Europe as part of La Voix du Griot (‘Voice of the Griot’), a storytelling theater show which he founded.
Kouyaté association with UK playwriter Peter Brook is legendary, which began with Brook’s adaptation of The Mahabharata in 1983. He has acted in over two films, including “Toula or the Water Spirit”, Courage of Others”, Keita: The heritage of the Griot”, “Mahabharata” and “Genesis”; all of which are included in the IFFK package.
“Toula or the Water Spirit” directed by Moustapha Alassane deals with the draught of a country and how a young tries to rescue his girl from a genie.The film “Courage of Others” by Christian Richard is a tale with documentary and historical importance. The other films included in this package are “Keita:The heritage of the Griot” by Dani Kouyate , “Mahabharata” by Peter Brook , “Genesis” by Cheik Oumar Sissoko and “Little Senegal” by Rachid Bouchareb.
The package also includes a documentary “A Modern Griot” directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, which is a portrait of Sotigui Kouyate and details the awe-inspiring actor. Through testimonies by Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Carriere, Jean-Pierre Guigane, and Sotigui Kouyate himself, Sotigui Kouyate: a Modern Griot dresses the portrait of one of Africa’s greatest actor now based in Paris. From Africa to Europe, the film unveils the multiple facets of Sotigui Kouyate, actor, musician and modern griot.
Describing the actor, Brook has said, “Sotigui was, for all of us who knew him, who worked with him and who became close to him, an absolutely unique person, incomparable with anybody of the past or present”. The films being presented in the IFFK will help film lovers discover the uniqueness of this man who viewed theatre and cinema as a medium to bridge cultural barriers.