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Part of SFFILM Festival

La Femme au Couteau (The Woman with the Knife)

Directed by Timité Bassori

Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) | Fiction | 80

19 Apr
Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm
SFMOMA 151 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States


From the Ivory Coast comes this daring 1969 drama that reflects the culture at a postcolonial crossroads. The unnamed male protagonist is an intellectual who finds reality a bit too much to bear. Haunted by visions of a woman who alternately threatens and beseeches him, he seeks out solutions from old and new worlds to try and ground him in reality. Delving unsettlingly into the sexual politics of the era and employing a jazz-inflected soundtrack, this recently restored film offers the opportunity to see a rarely screened classic of African cinema.

La Femme au Couteau stands unquestionably as Timité Bassori’s most accomplished work. It focuses on the story of a young Westernized Ivorian who seeks appeasement for his existential anguish and hallucinatory sexual fears through traditional African healing and modern Western psychoanalysis. According to Bassori, the film is ‘a personal experience and the result of multifarious observations of life.'” – Françoise Pfaff, Twenty-Five Black African Filmmakers

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation. This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, created by The Film Foundation, FEPACI, and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema.

Director Timité Bassori

Timité Bassori was born in Aboisso, Ivory Coast, in 1933 when the country was still a French colony. He is a novelist as well as a filmmaker. La Femme au Couteau was the first feature to hail from Ivory Coast. Bassori also directed a short, On the dune of solitude (1964).

Film Details

Language French

Year 1969

Runtime 80

Country Ivory Coast

Director Timité Bassori

Producer Timité Bassori

Writer Timité Bassori

Editor Guy Ferrant

Cinematographer Ivan Baguinoff

Cast Timité Bassori, Mary Vieyra, Danielle Alloh