Letter from My Village / Kaddu Beykat

Director: Safi Faye
Country: Senegal
Year: 1975
Running Time: 95 min.
Language: Serer

letter from my village

Shot in three weeks during a rainy season with a crew of three, Letter from My Village was Safi Faye’s first feature-length film. In a sparing, docu-drama style, Faye’s voiced-over letter to a friend is punctuated by sharp black and white images of her rural hometown, held captive by wildly fluctuating prices for its crops. Although Faye is deeply concerned with the economic crisis produced by a reliance on an outdated, colonial system meant to hamper self-sufficiency, she also warns against the corruption of the new Black middle class in the city. African film critic Françoise Pfaff, describes Letter from My Village as “soberly poetic yet politically effective.” The film was banned in Senegal.

About the Director

Safi Faye

safifayeBiography: Safi Faye was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1943. She was a school teacher for six years before beginning her career in film, as an actress in Jean Rouch’s Petit à petit in 1971. Subsequently, Faye studied both ethnology and film at the Louis Lumière National Cinema School. There she made her first short film, La Passante, in 1972, and in 1975 she became the first sub-Saharan African woman to direct a feature film: Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village). Faye has directed many feature films, and today is recognized as one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most prominent directors. Her 1996 film Mossane received the Un certain regard award at Cannes.

(Source: Through African Eyes – Dialogues with the Directors, BONETTI Mahen and REDDY Prerana (Editors), 2003, African Film Festival, Inc. and Printinfo JV LLC, Yerevan, Armenia, p.18)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Letter from my Village [Kaddu Beykat] (1993, 2000);
Mossane (1998, 2000, 2015).

Filmography:
The Passerby [La Passante] (1972);
Revenge (1973);
Letter from my Village [Kaddu Beykat] (1975);
The Harvest Is In [Göob Na Nu] (1979);
Come and Work [Fad’ Jal] (1979);
Three Years and Five Months (1979);
I, Your Mother [Man Sa Yaay] (1980);
As Women See It? (1980);
Souls under the Sun (1981);
Selbé: One among Many (1982);
Ambassades nourricières (1984);
Elsie Haas, Haitian Woman Painter and Filmmaker (1985);
Black Roots (1985);
Tesito (1989);
Mossane (1996).