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Med Hondo: An American Cinematheque Tribute

Film Series

SOLEIL Ô by Med Hondo

Los Feliz 3
1822 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

March 24 - 31, 2024


The American Cinematheque presents this three-film tribute to visionary filmmaker and founding father of African cinema, Med Hondo, in celebration of the new 4k restoration of WEST INDIES: THE FUGITIVE SLAVES OF LIBERTY. The tribute also includes his groundbreaking debut feature SOLEIL Ô and his epic masterpiece SARRAOUNIA.

Hondo’s works delves deeply into the complexities of identity, colonialism, and liberation. His films were not only artistic expressions but also powerful tools for social and political commentary, challenging viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about history and society. Financed by his work dubbing American films into French, his 1967 debut SOLEIL Ô explores the experiences of African immigrants in Europe. The film follows the journey of a young African man named Med (played by Robert Liensol) as he leaves his homeland in search of a better life in France but is confronted with racism, exploitation, and the harsh realities of life as an immigrant in a hostile environment. Constantly breaking the mold, Hondo created the first African musical with WEST INDIES: THE FUGITIVE SLAVES OF LIBERTY which reimagines the legacy of slavery and colonization in the Caribbean. Through a series of interconnected vignettes, Hondo blends satire, musical numbers, and surreal imagery to deconstruct the myths and stereotypes surrounding Caribbean history and culture. Following his own tradition of historical fiction, his 1986 epic SARRAOUNIA brings to life the inspiring true story of a legendary African queen who led her people in resistance against French colonial forces in Niger. The film’s breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural tapestry, and powerful performances highlight the beauty and strength of African heritage while condemning the brutality of colonial conquest. Aside from these incredible and important works, Hondo also frequently dubbed Eddie Murphy roles such as Donkey in SHREK, Alex Foley in BEVERLY HILLS COP, Sherman Klump in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, as well as Lieutenant T.M. Landry in SE7EN.

Med Hondo established himself as a pioneering filmmaker unafraid to tackle complex themes with creativity, depth, and passion. His legacy continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike to confront injustice, celebrate diversity, and imagine a world free from oppression.

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