Manthia Diawara, An Opera of the World at Africa in Motion Film Festival

Tue 29 Oct 2019 / 7pm

Kelvin Hall, 1445 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8AW
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Manthia Diawara’s film, An Opera of the World (2017), is based on the African opera Bintou Were, a Sahel Opera, which recounts an eternal migration drama. The Bintou Were opera, filmed on location in Bamako in 2007, serves as a mirror for Diawara to build an aesthetic and reflexive story, through song and dance, about the current and yet timeless drama of migration between North and South, and the ongoing refugee crises. The film ponders on the realities of cultural encounters through the concepts of métissage and hybridity. The success and limits of fusing African and European perspectives are tested by interlacing performances from the Bintou Were opera, past and present archival footage of migrations, classic European arias, and interviews with European and African intellectuals, artists and social activists – including Alexander Kluge, Fatou Diome, Nicole Lapierre and Richard Sennett.

LUX Scotland are delighted to be partnering with African in Motion to welcome Manthia Diawara to take part in a discussion after the screening. Professor Diawara has written extensively in the field of Black cultural studies and African film, with his 1992 book African Cinema: Politics & Culture being one of the foundational texts on the history of African cinema. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, whose titles include Sembene: the Making of African Cinema (1994) – a collaboration with renowned Kenyan writer Ngûgî wa Thiong’o, Bamako Siki Kan (2003) and Negritude, a Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor (2015). The screening and discussion will be followed by a wine reception.


The event is organised and hosted in collaboration with African in Motion and Black History Month (University of Glasgow), and presented with support from FILMING RUINS, a screening and discussion programme at the University of Glasgow.

Professor Diawara’s presence at the festival is generously funded by the Ferguson Bequest at the University of Glasgow. Professor Thomas Ferguson (1900-1977), Henry Mechan Chair of Public Health (1944-64), bequeathed his estate to the University, with the instruction that the money should be used to foster the social side of University life.

An Opera of the World, Manthia Diawara on the island of Lesbos, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Maumaus and Lumiar Cité