A native of Mali, Manthia Diawara collaborated with Ngugi wa Thiong'o in making the documentary Sembene Ousmane: The Making of the African Cinema. Most recently he directed Who’s Afraid of Ngugi?, Bamako Sigi-kan, Conakry Kas, Diaspora Conversations and In Search of Africa. Director of NYU’s Institute of Afro-American Affairs and Director of the Africana Studies Program, he is the author of We Won't Budge: An African Exile in the World (2003), Black-American Cinema: Aesthetics and Spectatorship (1993), African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992), and In Search of Africa (1998). He has published widely on the topic of film and literature of the Black Diaspora.
AVAILABLE FROM TWN
2002, 76 min., Color, US
This original documentary shot by Arthur Jafa brings a new look to the modern African city and enables a better understanding from the inside of how democracy takes root in Mali. Discover how politics in the city and in everyday life is lived in a changing society still inscribed within tradition as...
Conakry Kas: The Conakry People
2003, 82 min., Color, US
In January 2003, Director Manthia Diawara visited Guinea-Conakry to see what was left of the artists (Ballets Africains, Bembeya Jazz National) and intellectuals (D.T. Niane, Telivel Diallo) of the Guinean Cultural revolution, and how its citizens of Conakry were coping with globalization. The film...
Diaspora Conversations: from Goree to Dogon
2000, 47 min., Color, US
Actor Danny Glover and director Manthia Diawara travel through West Africa from Goree to Dogon, creating conversations that link different sides and accounts of the African diaspora. "Diaspora Conversations" traces a journey of memory. Traversing through various locales, they negotiate between the c...
Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation
2010, 50 min., Color, US
In 2009, filmmaker Manthia Diawara, along with his camera, documented his conversations with Martinican philosopher, writer, and poet Édouard Glissant aboard the Queen Mary II on their transatlantic journey from Southampton, England to New York City. This intellectual voyage encapsulates Glissant’s ...
In Search of Africa
1997, 26 min., Color, US
In 1996, the filmmaker and writer Manthia Diawara, now living in New York, returns to Guinea, thirty-two years after he and his family were expelled from the newly liberated country. Despite the years that have gone by, Diawara expects to be welcomed as an insider, and is shocked to discover that he...
2008, 58 min., Color, Republic of Congo/France
In 2008, filmmaker Manthia Diawara and artist Angela Ferreira travelled to Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo to “search through the debris left behind by those who took away the [Maison Tropicales].” Designed by French architect and designer Jean Prouvé, the Maison Tropicales were a set of prefabr...
Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Senghor
2015, 59 min., Color, USA/France/Germany/Portugal
This imagined dialogue between Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the founding fathers of Negritude, and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka was reconstructed almost entirely from archival materials. It probes the relevance of the concept of Negritude against the views of its many critics, not only to the decolo...
An Opera of the World
2018, 70 min., Color
Manthia Diawara’s film is based on the African opera Bintou Were, a Sahel Opera, which recounts an eternal migration drama. The Bintou Were opera, filmed on location in Bamako, in 2007, serves as a mirror for Diawara to build an aesthetic and reflexive story, through song and dance, about the curren...
Rouch in Reverse
1995, 52 min., US/UK
Malian filmmaker and scholar Manthia Diawara critiques visual anthropology through the work of Jean Rouch....
Sembene: the Making of African Cinema
Manthia Diawara & Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
1994, 60 min., Color, UK
This rich documentary follows the legendary Senagalese filmmaker Sembene Ousmane from the Pan African Film Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso back to the streets of Dakar and his Galle Ceddo home at Yoff, overlooking the sea. Revisiting several locations of his films, Sembene Ousmane reminisces a...
Who's Afraid of Ngugi?
2006, 83 min., Color, US/Kenya
Novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist Ngugi wa Thiong'o was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. In 1977 his novel Petals of Blood was published to critical acclaim. The novel painted a harsh and unsparing picture of life in neo-colonial Keny...