On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

Echo Lens Focus: Jean Pierre Bekolo’s “Quartier Mozart” and “les saignantes” January 3, 2010


One of the most delightfully unexpected African films in decades, Quartier Mozart
was awarded the Prix Afrique en Creation at the 1992 Cannes Film
Festival and has enchanted film festival audiences from New York to New
Dehli. Told over a 48-hour period in a working class neighborhood in
Yaounde, Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s film is the story of the
not-very-sentimental education of a young schoolgirl known as Queen of
the ‘Hood. Maman Thekla, the local sorceress, helps her enter the body
of a young man, My Guy, so she can discover for herself the real
“sexual politics” of the quarter. Meanwhile, Maman Thekla herself
assumes the shape of Panka, a familiar comic figure in Cameroonian
folklore who can cause a man’s penis to disappear with a simple

My Guy is initiated into the quarter’s male hierarchy with its
colorful cast of characters including the police chief Mad Dog, his son
Secret Correspondent, and the suave tailor who likes to call himself
Young Ladies’ Candy. Director Bekolo uses traditional wit and
music-video style to create an imaginary world of intoxicating
playfulness — a place where women’s wisdom and witchcraft help them
achieve a balance of power witht the men they both love and struggle
Critical Acclaim


“les saignantes”

After eight years of absence, maverick Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo (QuartierMozart, Aristotle’s Plot) returns with his magnum opus, Les Saignantes, a superbly photographed, stylishly edited and tastefully scored film about two young femmes fatales who set out to rid a futuristic country of its corrupt and sexually obsessed powerful men. In this stylized sci-fi-action-horror hybrid, Majolie and Chouchou, exquisitely played by AdËle Ado and Dorylia Calmel (both budding stars to look out for), navigate a sordid world where sex, money, politics and death are perniciously imbricated. Young, attractive, fashionable and lethal, they are on a mission to change the destiny of their country. But their task is made difficult by a formidable foe.
Reveling in its display of excess, committed to an aesthetics of cool, Les Saignantes is one of the first science fiction films to come out of Africa. It is a film with attitude, a film that poses questions about relationships between men and women, about the destiny of a continent, about the nature and future of cinema…a film that will be talked about for years to come.


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