Artist Cinemas presents École du soir

Artist Cinemas presents École du soir

Artist Cinemas

Amelia Umuhire, Polyglot Ep. 2: Le Mal du pays (Homesickness), 2015.

May 20, 2020
Artist Cinemas presents École du soir
Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond: Week 4
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Artist Cinemas is pleased to present an online screening of Amelia Umuhire’s Polyglot Ep. 2: Le Mal du pays (Homesickness) (2015), the fourth installment of École du soir, on view from Wednesday, May 20 through Tuesday, May 26, 2020, and featuring an interview with the filmmaker by Yasmina Price.

École du soir is a six-part program of films, video works, and interviews from Rwanda and beyond put together by Christian Nyampeta. It is the first program in Artist Cinemas, a long-term, online series of film programs curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film

Artist Cinemas presents École du soir: Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond
Week 4: May 20–26, 2020

Amelia Umuhire, Polyglot Ep. 2: Le Mal du pays (Homesickness), 2015
10:41 minutes

Polyglot is a web series about the lives of young German artists of African descent, as they navigate German society. In Le Mal du pays, rapper and poet Babiche Papaya is homesick and frustrated by the maintenance of a natural haircare routine. In a fragile instance of open interiority, in which it is not entirely clear whether it is the hair that is burning or the heart that is hurting, Babiche Papaya introduces herself by her given name, Amanda. Le Mal du pays is a practice of what artist Rahima Gambo calls “micro-freedom.” The film and the other episodes of Polyglot—which are in fact available on YouTube—constitute a sociology of the quotidian, through a method that grasps how such everyday is threatened by the implosion of its own stabilities, at the shifting moment when personal longing materializes into cultural belonging.

Excerpt from the interview with the filmmaker by Yasmina Price

Yasmina Price (YP):
It sounds like Polyglot was a guerrilla project, born of coming of age into a somewhat inhospitable place and needing to formalize the ensuing feelings into some kind of cultural expression. In that sense, did you have other short films or web series in mind when you were making it? Both in terms of works that influenced you, but also works that you wanted to make? Or did you feel that the three episodes including Le Mal du Pays were sufficient in narrating the story you had set out to tell?

Amelia Umuhire (AU):
As I mentioned, I wasn’t motivated to make this web series because I had been influenced by other web series that existed at the time. Still, my imagination was sparked when I saw how the format of the web series seemed to be a tool accessible to those who hadn’t even attended film school. This stood in sharp contrast to the heaviness of the equipment, the need for fundraising, and the bureaucracy that filmmakers usually must endure in order to realize their films. So, I should confess that I was indeed very influenced by this aspect of the web series format, and in particular the works of Issa Rae and Cecile Emeke—all these people who were using YouTube as a platform and were showing that YouTube videos were as worthy as any other medium. In fact, they were reaching out to wide audiences who needed this connection, and in a way, their work and online presence were fulfilling a similar function to the foreign grocery stores and Afro-hair salons and travel agencies.

Watch the film and read the full interview here.

About the program
Presented a week each, the six films in École du soir are not direct points of comparison to the current crisis but reflection devices that draw from localized specificities and historical events, in order to make a linking with the pandemic. The sense of isolation, alienation, and despair felt today finds echoes in these films, as their makers navigate the afterlives of the crises that still shape their present. Effectively, although the geographic and economic scales of the current pandemic are unprecedented, the films bring home the fact that some members of the societies in which the films are located feel or have felt as though their existence is a form of quarantine, characterized long before this moment by trans-generational trauma, the disappearance of habitable environments, exile, and even genocidal brutalities that take away the ability to mourn. Each film is accompanied by a newly commissioned dialog that loosely relates the film to the ongoing pandemic.

École du soir is convened by Christina Nyampeta.

About the series
Artist Cinemas is a new e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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May 20, 2020

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