Angelique, a young Australian backpacker, travels to San Francisco in late 2009 for the world’s first Festival of Dhaban First Wave Cinema. This film movement briefly flourished in the West African nation of Dhaba between 1969 and 1974, a period of creative freedom between repressive dictatorships. Adopted at birth to Australian aid workers, Angelique is in fact the daughter of Jean Bouchard (a French director and mentor of the movement) and the beautiful Dhaban actress Nafissa N’Diaye.
Angelique is in town to learn what she can about her long-dead parents. The festival is the stepping stone to an eventual Criterion Collection boxset, and others have come to San Francisco to fight for what will constitute the canon of the Dhaban First Wave: Miles Skarpås, Swedish academic and festival curator; the bitter ‘Colorado Kid’, once tortured by Dhaban security forces and now independent historian of the movement; and Souleymane Foumo, one of the original Dhaban directors who escaped the tragic fate of his colleagues for success in French television.
Set entirely at night in a repressive atmosphere of Patriot Act paranoia, Angelique in San Francisco dramatizes the ironies of canon-formation and a young woman’s quest to discover her heritage.
Angelique in San Francisco is now out of print.
[Cover photograph (CC) ‘Unity Drum member of Cape Coast, Ghana’ by oneVillage Initiative @ Flickr]