Genese, La - Genesis [VHS]
Cheick Oumar Sissoko
A visually retelling of the biblical stoary of the house of abraham from an african perspective the film portrays the bitter rivalry between brothers jacob & esau which threatens to engulf both clans in a never ending cycle of violence. Cheick Oumar Sissoko marks the coming of the 21st century with a film set at the beginning of time. He discovers insights into one of the most urgent problems facing Africa and indeed the world - fratricidal strife - by returning to the biblical account of its origins. Just as he used an historic allegory to denounce contemporary African dictatorship in his last film Guimba, in La Gènese he uses the story of Jacob and Esau to explore internecine wars from Liberia to Somalia and from Congo to Kosovo. By translating this archetypal story into a distinctively West African context, Sissoko makes it possible for us to see Africans not as an other but as representatives of a universal humanity. From an anthropological perspective, the leading characters in the film represent three different modes of production coming into contact and conflict. Esau, Isaac's elder son, and his clan (dressed in hides) represent hunter-gatherer man. His younger brother, Jacob and his family (dressed in blue) are tent-dwelling, monotheistic pastoralists, nomadic herdsmen. Hamor and the polytheistic Canaanites (dressed in yellow) live in permanent stone settlements and cultivate the surrounding territory. All three groups are beginning to compete for the same land, especially as the advantages of agriculture become apparent. Sissoko relocates this clash to the spectacular, semi-arid plateaus of northeastern Mali under the looming presence of Mt. Hombori Tondo, a landscape perhaps not too different from the biblical Canaan.
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