Aï Keïta, Jean-Roger Milo, Féodor Atkine, Tidjani Ouedraogo,
Arguably the most uncompromising, anti-colonialist of all African filmmakers, Hondo (Soleil Ô) turned to the brutal real-life history of French African imperialism for his most epic work, Sarraounia. The young queen of Niger’s Aznas, Sarraounia, is acclaimed and feared as a leader, warrior, or even witch, but in 1899 she stands (nearly) alone against the rampaging Voulet-Chanoine Mission, an expeditionary force notorious for its use of rape, torture, and mass slaughter. (Google it.) Filmed amidst Niger’s harsh deserts and brush, Sarraounia is a historical epic made not by Hollywood, but by hand, aiming to bring forgotten atrocities back to life and to honor those who stood in opposition.