Festival Mis me Binga, yeux de femmes en films | Women’s cinematic gaze – 2018 – by/de Thierno I. Dia
Mis Me Binga 2018, Festival International de films de femmes| International Women's Film Festival, Edition 9, Yaoundé, Cameroun | Cameroon - 26-30 juin/June 2018
By/de Thierno I. Dia, Africiné Magazine, correspondant à Bordeaux pour Images Francophones, published 26 June 2018. Translated and modified from French by Beti Ellerson, in collaboration with Africine.org.
The Film Festival, Mis Me Minga, literally means "The Eyes of Women", and by extension "Women's Gaze", in the Beti language of Cameroon. Founded in 2010, the international women's film festival is held in Yaoundé. "The essential criteria are that the films must be made by women or by men on themes that put women at the centre of the debate," said the festival's General Delegate, Evodie Ngueyeli.
Mémoire de missionnaires (Missionary memories) by Delphine Wil opened the 9th edition of the Cameroonian festival. The cineaste said she was honoured: "to be selected at the Mis Me Binga Festival and, moreover, to see it as the opening film of the Festival, which is also the premiere for Mémoire de missionnaires, is a recompense for the work of the entire team. I am also very happy that an African festival has made this choice, because it shows that the film addresses a subject that has made an impact and, hence, it is important to discuss it on the continent. It also demonstrates the double identity of the film, both African and European; and the fact that the festival showcases the perspectives of the women filmmakers within cinematographic creation is also important to me".
In the last century, men of the Church went to the Congo to preach the good word. In Mémoire de missionnaires the last witnesses of this epoch recount their memories. With a lucid and critical gaze at the Christianization of Africa, these carriers of memory testify to an often commented and yet unknown part of colonial history.
Thus, the aim is not only about representations of women, here it is reconfirmed that one of the characteristics of cinematic counter-discourse is to go beyond the form of the object to that of subject; hence images by women that counterbalance the often pejorative images of women. It is about women using cinema to "speak out and give their point of view about society", explains Evodie Ngueyeli. She elaborates the history of the festival’s approach: "The need to create a women’s film festival comes from the fact that we observed that in Cameroon most women who work in the film industry prefer to settle for positions as makeup artist, costume designer, script supervisors and actresses, and yet those who take the step further, make films that mark the history of Cameroonian cinema including Josephine Ndagnou with her film Paris à tout prix, for which I remember buying a ticket to view the film, and having to wait in an endless queue. The film captured the public’s interest [25 000 entries in 3 days, author’s note]. In addition Osvalde Lewat was the laureate of the Silver Stallion at FESPACO, and Yolande Ekoumou with her film Tiga, l’heritage [2000, which got support from the OIF, author’s note]."
The Festival offered a very varied program…"This year there is a prevalence of socially engaged films: we have films about the choice of sexual orientation, the status of artists, women's difficulty in accessing water, forced marriage, democracy, etc.", the head of Mis Me Binga tells us...