Le mariage en Afrique
CH 2004 52'
Françoise, 25, and Alexandre, 27, live in Lausanne and plan to marry soon. Alexandre suggests having the religious ceremony in Cameroon, where Françoise was born. With the help of Françoise's African uncle the couple embark on extensive marriage preparations. In Africa marriage is a big event, and celebrated accordingly, so inevitably, the couple's families have rather different ideas and hilarious misunderstandings ensue. Alexandre's parents oscillate between curiosity and prejudice, whilst Françoise takes the opportunity to ponder on her identity straddling two continents. It's time for the small family from Switzerland to come face to face with the big family in Africa. Without falling into the trap of racial stereotypes, Yang's documentary on the meeting of two different cultures is astute and packed with humour.
"People say that if love is blind, marriage restores eyesight. François Yang’s film confirms this saying. But not in the sense one generally means. Only just married, Françoise and Alexandre decide to celebrate their union for the second time in the Cameroons, the young girl’s country of origin. As for Alexandre, he spent his childhood in the country. From the outset, LE MARIAGE EN AFRIQUE makes this difference of background a daily theme of the film, which captures in passing a whispered comment from the parents about their daughter-in-law – she is so well integrated – a divergence of opinion on the number of guests invited to the wedding – more than 400 – or apprehension about contact with the natives –what to bring in the way of presents. On the scene, the film maker uses the metaphor of marriage to focus his message on the meeting of two cultures. For the young bride, the event also represents a chance to rediscover her origins and to ponder on her identity straddling two continents. In Africa, a marriage is a big event, whose novelty is matched only by the excessiveness with which it is celebrated. It is also a blend of animist and religious practices, a dimension and idea that might be difficult to grasp for the Swiss : inevitably, misunderstandings appear which are the reflection of the diversity of mentalities and living standards. By avoiding racial clichés, François Yang nevertheless relates with healthy simplicity a fine human adventure: the birth of awareness by a family of the otherness of one of its members, of his or her dignity and proximity."
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