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Repertory Picks

Landmark Senegalese Cinema in Baltimore

This Sunday afternoon, and again on Tuesday evening, Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty’s one-of-a-kind first feature, 1973’s Touki bouki, will screen at Baltimore’s long-shuttered Parkway Theatre, newly reopening for year-round programming after an $18.5 million renewal spearheaded by the Maryland Film Festival. The self-taught Mambéty’s film, a groundbreaking work of African cinema that evokes the freewheeling spirit of the French New Wave, pulses with the energy of its editing and the vibrancy of its visuals, telling the story of a young outlaw couple’s thwarted attempts to escape Dakar for the sparkling City of Light. In the liner essay for our release of Touki bouki (in our first collector’s set of films restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project), critic Richard Porton writes that the plot of the road movie is simply “the departure point for a jaundiced look at Senegalese modernity and its discontents,” one that “refuses to endorse either a nostalgic view of the African past or a blinkered enthusiasm for contemporary mores and the ideology of progress.”

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