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date: 05 June 2020

Faye, Safi locked

1943– Senegalese film director.
  • Elizabeth Heath

Extract

Safi Faye is not only one of the few independent African women film directors, but also one of the few who make ethnographic films, which document cultures. Born near Dakar, Senegal, the daughter of a village chief and businessman of Serer origin, Faye moved to Dakar at the age of nineteen to become a teacher. There she became interested in the uses of film in education and ethnology, the study of ethnic groups and their cultures. Upon meeting French filmmaker and ethnologist Jean Rouche, Faye embarked on a film career.

Faye acted in Rouche’s Petit à petit ou les lettres persanes (1968). She learned about Rouche’s style of cinéma-vérité, characterized by an unobtrusive camera and spontaneous nonprofessional acting, which influenced her own film work. With Rouche’s encouragement she moved to Paris in 1972 enrolling in the École Pratique des Hautes Études to study ethnology and in the ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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