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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Mahama Johnson Traoré

Born in Dakar in 1942, Mahama Johnson Traoré studied electronic engineering in Senegal and Mali. He then goes to France and discover cinema through one of his technical class. He doesn’t wand to record the actors playing, but wants to direct them. He studied at the Conservatoire indépendant du cinéma français and did internships at the ORTF, and in italian and german crews.
In 1968, he directs his first feature, « Diankha-bi », about the situation of women in Senegal. His second film is about the same issue : « Diegue-bi » (1970) tells the story of an official that misappropriates public funds to seduce a courtesan. The film was a very big success in Dakar.
But other issues caught his attention as well : his priority becomes making social and political films to bring the african audiences to a greater awareness of the continent’s main issues. « Lambaay », « Reou-takh » and « Njangaan » belong to that period of his work.