Malick Sidibé started out as a local photographer in Bamako, Mali. After independence in 1960, his snazzy studio portraits and party shots captured the buoyant optimism of a new nation. Today they are recognized internationally as masterpieces, and Malick is world famous.

This short but sweet film looks at the work of the renowned African artist whose photographs have documented Malian society over a forty-year period. In an interview, this self-taught photographer, now seventy years old, describes how his photography answered a desire for immortality, discusses his views of photography as a "social art form" and explains his documentary and portrait techniques, including methods of putting his subjects at ease and "giving life to the image." Another scene gives us a rare look at the photographer at work his studio, placing his subjects in stylized poses while he quickly deploys humor and flattery in the service of his art.

MALICK SIDIBÉ showcases many of his best known photos, especially those documenting Malian youth culture in the Sixties, including portraits of youngsters posing in the era's 'hip' fashions and his energetic images of Malian teenagers enjoying the latest dance crazes.

This short film will serve as a useful introduction to a photographer whose body of work, writes Index Magazine, is "characterized by acute observation, perfect timing and an infinite love for its subjects."

2007 Contact Toronto Photography Film Festival
2006 African Studies Association Film Festival

8 minutes / color
Release: 2006

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