The starting point of this documentary was doctoral research into the role of culture in issues of urban government, through a study of the heritage industry in the city of Douala in Cameroun. The heritage there is being reinstrumentalised by a number of players who are seeking to promote the memory of their group. At the same time, the history of the country’s independence struggle is being obscured and its narrative is prohibited in public space. The documentary film Kunde interrogates the position of certain artists who are working to bring back to the fore the memory of this period of national construction, like the group of Kunde musicians and dancers, accompanied by the artist and scenographer Stéphane Eloundou. In villages and towns, these artists work to assemble and pass on a collective memory in the form of a contemporary artistic reinterpretation. Made in collaboration with a community of artists, the documentary Kunde puts forward a scientific argument to the effect that, in parallel with powerful moments of resurgence of memory and catharsis, contemporary art makes it possible to produce a genuine foundation story for the population.
Holder of a doctorate in geography from the Université Paris A Panthéon-Sorbonne, Maïa Ghattas is a specialist on the heritage of Douala in Cameroun. She begin using video as a tool in her researches at the start of her career and made Racines au bord du fleuve with the collaboration of artist Stéphane Eloundou and the support of Bernard Surugue of the Fondation Jean Rouch. She was awarded a grant by the Fondation pour la Vocation, which encouraged the filmed, participatory dimension of her research/action. She has worked for art festivals in Doula and taken part in research into the heritage of the towns of the south.
Production : Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains