(61 minutes) Cameroon
Director: Jean-Marie Teno
Producer: Les Films du Raphia
UNAFF screening schedule


In his most recent film, Chef!, Teno locates the roots of Africa's authoritarian regimes in the patriarchal family, reinforced by traditional kingship and the colonial experience. Teno insists that this film was not planned but imposed itself on him during a visit to his ancestral village, Bandjoun, in the Ghomala speaking region of Western Cameroon. He had gone to film dances dedicating a monument to King Kamga Joseph II, the filmmakers' great granduncle, but the ceremony soon turned into a celebration of one-man rule, in particular Cameroonian President Paul Biya's.

Teno bought a souvenir calendar listing "the rules and regulations of the husband in his home." These included: "The husband is always chief - even in bed;" or " If the husband strikes the wife while visitors are present, she must smile and pretend that nothing has happened; etc" Teno wryly observes that if every husband is a chief then Cameroon is a nation of 7 million chiefs. The director of the Association for the End of Violence to Women points out that the husbands' dominance over his wife is guaranteed not only by tradition, but by the French Civil Code of 1804 which is still operative in Cameroon, though long since revised in France.


Jean Marie Teno was born in Famleng, Cameroon. As a child he and his friends would visit the local cinema which screened mainly Indian films, karate films and westerns. Teno moved to France in 1978, and after gaining an MA in audiovisual communications in 1982 he got a job as an editor with the French TV, France 3. In 1983 he completed his first film, the 15 minutes documentary, Schubbah. This was followed by Homage, L’Afrique, Clando, Chef.

Contact Information:

Cornelius Moore, Distributor
California Newsreel
149 9th Street, #420
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 621-6196
Fax: (415) 621-6522

All material copyright 2000 UNAFF