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Kaddu Beykat

Letter from My Village
Film still from "Kaddu Beykat" by Safi Faye. It shows a black and white photograph of a woman
Still from KADDU BEYKAT by Safi Faye © Arsenal - Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V., Zeïba Monod
  • Director

    Safi Faye

  • Senegal / 1975
    93 min / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language

    French, Wolof

The ongoing drought in a Senegalese village has decimated millet and peanut farmers’ yields. The catastrophic damage brought about by the colonial era’s agricultural monoculture is becoming ever more palpable; farm labourer Ngor is now unable to afford the dowry for his lover Coumba and thus sets off to Dakar to try his luck with odd jobs. Filmmaker Safi Faye – who studied ethnology – frames the action with her own comments, thus creating an audiovisual letter about her home village. Shot in three weeks with a small team, this docufiction is the remarkable product of her participatory collaboration with the villagers – among them her grandfather, who died shortly after filming wrapped. Safi Faye was the first Sub-Saharan woman director whose films received commercial distribution. Her powerful oeuvre has thus far received too little scholarly attention, even while receiving acclaim for how it looks at the experience of women and children in rural areas. The film will be shown as a tribute to Faye to mark the first anniversary of her death, accompanied by a talk where she will be remembered in conversation with guests. (Can Sungu)

Safi Faye, born in the village of Fad’jal near Dakar, Senegal in 1943, she worked as a teacher before going on to study ethnology and film in Paris. She made her first short film The Passerby in 1972. Her prize-winning feature-length debut Letter from My Village (Berlinale Forum 1976) brought her international fame. In 1979, Faye came to the Freie Universität Berlin for a video workshop and subsequently stayed on in the city with a grant from the DAAD. It was in this period that her ZDF-produced film I, Your Mother was made. Mossane was her last film. Safi Faye died in Paris on February 22, 2023.

Production company Safi Productions (Dakar, Senegal). Director Safi Faye. Screenplay Safi Faye. Cinematography Patrick Fabry. Editing Andrée Davanture. Music Charles Diouf, Maya Bracher. With Assane Faye, Maguette Gueye.

Films (selection): 1972: La passante / The Passerby (10 min.). 1976: Kaddu Beykat / Letter from My Village (97 min.). 1979: Fad’jal / Come and Work (113 min.), Goob na nu / The Harvest Is In (29 min.). 1980: Man sa yay / I, Your Mother (59 min.). 1981: Les âmes au soleil / Souls under the Sun (27 min.). 1982: Selbe et tant d’autres / Selbe: One Among Many (32 min.). 1985: Racines noires / Black Roots. 1989: Tesito (30 min.). 1996: Mossane (106 min.).

Bonus Material

Film Info Sheet and Essay

  • Film still from "Kaddu Beykat" by Safi Faye. It shows a close-up of a man wearing a bamboo hat.

    Film Info Sheet

    Original Info Sheet that accompanied KADDU BEYKET’s original Forum screening in 1976

  • Film still from "Kaddu Beykat" by Safi Faye. It shows six children raking the floor. Two more children are walking in the background.


    Rama Salla Dieng's essay "The land doesn't lie" on Safi Faye’s KADDU BEYKAT in the online magazine Africa Is a Country (external link).

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
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