Fantôme Afrique

Director: Isaac Julien
Country: Burkina Faso and the UK
Year: 2005
Running Time: 16 min
Language: Moré

In Fantôme Afrique, Julien paints a picture of West Africa as a place where a multitude of traditions intersect; where European, Arabic, and black African civilizations meet and cross with contemporary, transnational culture. The film is brought to life by two protagonists, male and female, who appear in multiple urban and rural sites. The man, renowned choreographer and dancer Stephen Galloway, dances through such spaces as a desert mosque and severe modernist buildings, appearing and suddenly disappearing as if by magic. The woman Vanessa Myrie, steady and self-possessed in her movements, passes in turn through crowded streets, a vacant outdoor cinema, and the ramparts and granaries of an ancient village. Galloway and Myrie figure as “trickster/phantom” and “witness” in this carefully composed meditation on the denationalized, de-territorialized spaces born of the encounters between local and global cultures, where the ghosts of history linger amid the realities of the present.

About the Director

Isaac Julien

Biography: Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London. While newIsaacPortraitstudying painting and fine art film at St Martin’s School of Art from which he graduated in 1984, Isaac Julien co-founded Sankofa Film and Video Collective in which he was active from 1983–1992. He was also a founding member of Normal Films in 1991. Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his films The Long Road to Mazatlán (made in 1999, in collaboration with Javier de Frutos) and Vagabondia (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos. Earlier works include Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996), Young Soul Rebels, which was awarded the Semaine de la Critique Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991, and the acclaimed poetic documentary Looking for Langston (1989), which also won several international awards. Isaac Julien was visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s Schools of Afro-American and Visual Environmental Studies between 1998 and 2002. He was also a research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2000-2005), a member at the Whitney Museum of American Arts and Professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Germany. He was the recipient of the Performa Award (2008), the prestigious MIT Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts (2001) and the Frameline Lifetime Achievement Award (2002). His work Paradise Omeros was presented as part of Documenta XI in Kassel (2002). In 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne for his single screen version of Baltimore; in 2008, he received a Special Teddy for his film that he collaborated on with Tilda Swinton, on Derek Jarman, called Derek, at the Berlin International Film Festival. Julien has had solo shows at the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2005), MOCA Miami (2005), Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2006), the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2009), Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2011), SESC Pompeia in Brazil (2012).


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1997);
Fantôme Afrique (2008).

Territories (1985);
This Is Not an AIDS Advertisement (1988);
Looking for Langston (1989);
Young Soul Rebels (1991);
Black and White in Colour (1992);
The Attendant (1992);
The Darker Side of Black (1993);
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996);
The Long Road to Mazatlán (1999);
Three (1999);
Vagabondia (2000);
Paradise Omeros (2002);
Baadasssss Cinema (2002);
Baltimore (2003);
Peter Gabriel: Play (2004);
Fantôme Afrique (2005);
True North (2006);
Derek (2008);
Ten Thousand Waves (2010).