23. Februar 2024

MUBI acquires Mati Diop’s DAHOMEY at the Berlinale


MUBI, the global film distributor, streaming service and production company, has acquired all rights for Mati Diop’s (Atlantics) Dahomey for North America, Latin America, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and India. The film had its World Premiere at the 2024 Berlinale in the Competition section earlier this week. The deal was negotiated between Films du Losange and MUBI. 

MUBI will release the film in late 2024.

Dahomey is the second feature film from Mati Diop. Variety called the film “superb” and a “striking, stirring example of the poetry that can result when the dead and the dispossessed speak to and through the living,” while The Hollywood Reporter heralded it as a “beautifully made, powerful and thematically complex.” Her debut feature, Atlantics, won the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival alongside widespread critical acclaim. It was nominated for a Critics Choice Award and Director’s Guild Award for Best First Feature, and was Senegal’s selection for the 2020 Academy Awards making the shortlist.

Dahomey was produced by LES FILMS DU BAL, France (Eve Robin and Judith Lou Levy) and co-produced by FANTA SY, Senegal (Mati Diop). 

November, 2021. Twenty-six royal treasures of the Kingdom of Dahomey are about to leave Paris to return to their country of origin, the present-day Republic of Benin. Along with thousands of others, these artifacts were plundered by French colonial troops in 1892. But what attitude to adopt to these ancestors’ homecoming in a country that had to forge ahead in their absence? While the soul of the artifacts is freed, debate rages among students of the University of Abomey-Calavi.

About Mati Diop
Mati Diop was born in Paris on June 22, 1982. Since the early 2000s, she has built an eclectic body of work that has won awards at numerous international festivals. Her first feature, Atlantics (2019), winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, established her as one of the leading figures in international arthouse cinema and of a new wave in African and diasporic cinema. Her nomadic, lyrical and political cinema crosses boundaries between genres and formats, as an extension of her dual identity and proud Creoleness.

Mati grew up in a Franco-Senegalese family, with a musician father, Wasis Diop, and photographer and art buyer mother. She is the niece of Djibril Diop Mambéty, director of the cult movie Touki Bouki (1973).

The formalism of her cinema is rooted in an early curiosity for the arts, particularly video and, above all, sound. At the age of 20, she started out working in theater, designing sound and video creations for plays. Around the same time, she shot her first self-produced short, Last Night (2004). In 2006, she joined Le Pavillon, the creative laboratory at the Palais de Tokyo. After a brief passage at Le Fresnoy (National Contemporary Arts Studio), her meeting with Claire Denis, who cast her as the female lead in 35 Rhums (2008), confirmed her desire to become a filmmaker.

So began an epic adventure in three chapters, based in Dakar, spanning a decade. Atlantiques (2009, Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Festival), Mille Soleils (2013, Grand Prix at FID Marseille) and Atlantics form a manifesto that substantiates a political choice: militant cinema in Senegal, whose working-class youth will be its beating heart. From the phenomenon of undocumented immigration devastating Senegal’s working-class youth to the defeat of the Wade regime in 2012, via the decline of Senegalese and, more broadly, African cinema, whose golden age was epitomized by the subversive and political work of her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty, these films became the archive of an era and its contemporary issues. For the filmmaker, cinema is a tool of reconquest that reclaims missing images, questions representations rooted in colonialism, and invents heroes and heroines who have deserted the African imagination.

At the same time, Mati Diop made several shorts, including Big in Vietnam (2011, Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Festival) and Snow Canon (2012, premiered at the Venice Film Festival), which revisit favorite motifs and themes: the solitude of exiled bodies, cities and landscapes imbued with mythology and mystery, and the night out of which dances and ghosts emerge. These themes can also be found in Tokyo Trip (2023) and In My Room (2020). Mati Diop continued her video work with Liberian Boy (2015) and Naked Blue (2022), co-directed with Manon Lutanie. In 2020-2021, she also shot two music videos in Paris, for Bonnie Banane and Wasis Diop, as well as a commercial with Solange Knowles.

Selected in competition at the 74th Berlinale, Dahomey (2024), the director’s second feature, shot in Benin, focuses on the restitution of royal treasures looted during colonization by France, reaffirms her artistic activism on the African continent.

Hi-res still from the film available here.

For press inquiries, please contact: mubi@steinbrennermueller.de
MUBI ist ein globaler Streaming-Dienst, ein Filmverleih und eine Produktionsfirma und verschreibt sich der Förderung großartiger Filme. MUBI produziert, kuratiert, akquiriert und feiert visionäre Filme und bringt sie Menschen auf der ganzen Welt näher.             
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About Films du Losange
Founded in 1962 by BARBET SCHROEDER and ERIC ROHMER, LES FILMS DU LOSANGE has always supported filmmakers from all over the world. As of July 2021, succeeding MARGARET MENEGOZ, CHARLES GILLIBERT has taken over as the company’s new president, and ALEXIS DANTEC as managing director.

With passion and perseverance, the company has grown and diversified from production to distribution, and international sales, overseen by ALICE LESORT.

Recent titles include Golden Bear winner 2023 ON THE ADAMANT, by Nicolas Philibert. This year, Berlinale slate includes SONS by Gustav Möller, also in competition, and AT AVERROES & ROSA PARKS by Nicolas Philibert, in Berlinale Special.

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