April 2017, living archive

Public screening

REMPARTS D'ARGILE, 1970

We have had a new Living Archive grant holder since February: The Off-Nollywood filmmaker and critic and co-founder of the Lagos Film Society Didi Cheeka. As the initiator of the "Reclaiming History, Unveiling Memory" project, Cheeka now has the task of working through the recently discovered film archive of Nigeria’s Colonial Film Unit. Arsenal is supporting this activity and currently restoring Adamu Halilu's film "Shaihu Umar" (1976). Meanwhile, Didi Cheeka is also researching Arsenal's archive. One of his first discoveries was the film REMPARTS D'ARGILE (Ramparts of Clay, Jean-Louis Bertuccelli, France/Algeria 1970), which in 1971 was announced as follows in the catalogue for the first Berlinale Forum: "With (…) long takes, the film begins like a documentary about a remote settlement on the edge of the desert. Pictures of a marriage, of the men's difficult work under a scorching sun and of lessons at a primitive school slip in. Confusingly though, a 19-year-old woman appears in the foreground. She was adopted by a family, never went to school and is now trying to catch up with her schooling, from what the children report from class. She is on the margins of the community, more tolerated than integrated. Her hour comes when the men one day refuse to carry out the difficult work of breaking rocks for the pittance that one of the city officials hands out." We are showing the film in a public screening on April 7.