(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.
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.
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, LAfrique, Clando, Chef.