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African Dreams in the Voices and Images of Baloji

Before the release of his first feature film, AugurOn November 29, on the screens, director Baloji continues previews and festivals in Europe and campaigns for the Oscars: he represents Belgium for the best foreign film prize. His choral film, about four Congolese people who struggle with tradition and witchcraft trials, has already won several awards. In May, in Cannes, in the selection In some perspectiveHe won the New Voice Prize for directing at the Angoulême Francophonie Film Festival the following August. Not bad for a rapper who previously only made short films to be the first to illustrate his song, Peau de chagrin – night bluethen the next Kanyama show and zombies, Before diving into the deep end of cinema.

The former member of the Belgian hip-hop group Starflam has led an atypical solo career for more than fifteen years, with extraordinary visual demands and albums as diverse as rare, deeply soulful. Hotel Impala (2007) and its African version, Kinshasa branch (2011), refined 137 Kanyama Avenue (2018). At the end of November, he will release the first songs from four EPs, which will feature the names of each of the characters in his film: Kofi, Pako, Tsala and Mama Mujila.

Not content with being a protean artist, Baloji is also a model. And instead of attending screenings in the first row, he joined the workshops of the great houses to study the fabrics, the materials that allowed him to make the costumes for his film with his accomplice Elke Hoste. , whose prototypes he will exhibit at the Antwerp Fashion Museum until June 2024.

Break the clichés

Despite the first film presenting itself under a happy auspices, Baloji seems pessimistic. Being in Los Angeles in October reassured him about the film’s reception in the United States, but as for being in the Oscar race, he has few illusions: “Academy members have 90 foreign films to watch, He is staying in a hotel room in Brussels. It’s hard to attract attention, and on the other hand, there are only legends, great masters: Aki Kaurismäki, who is in his twenty-fifth film and who fights for Finland, Wim Wenders. [sélectionné par le Japon]…”

Despite his price on the Croisette, he is still skeptical about the reception he can get in France. : “If I can stay on the screen for two weeks, I will be happy. » Baloji fears that audiences will be confused by his film’s emphasis on what he calls the uncanny. “Magical Realism” A mix of Brothers Grimm fairy tales and African superstitions.

Source: Le Monde



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