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dateOctober 5, 2023 timeThursday, 6:30pm–8:30pm EDT location Horace Mann Hall, Cowin Auditorium (Room 147), Teachers College
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Alliance Program
  • Department of History
  • European Institute
  • Institute of African Studies
  • Knapp Family Foundation
  • Villa Albertine
  • Columbia Maison Française
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Man with glasses in color with b&w photograph of two women behind him

Documentary film screening followed by a discussion and Q&A with director Alain Kassanda and Souleymane Bachir Diagne.

Colette and Justin (Colette et Justin) (2022) Documentary, 89 min

Film in Lingala and French with English subtitles.

Of Congolese descent, Alain Kassanda retraces his family history and the history of the Belgian colonization of the Congo, then its independence, and the political upheaval and civil war that followed. In this intimate film, Kassanda succeeds in placing the major political events that marked Congolese history by using historical and family archival images, along with the memories shared by his grandparents, and accompanies the story with a poetic voice-over. This film delves into the history of colonization, decolonization, civil war, and immigration from the point of view of those who lived through and inherited this history.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2022
Gilda Vieira De Mello Award, FIFDH Geneva 2023
New York African Film Festival 2023
Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris 2023
Etats généraux du film documentaire, Lussas 2023
Afrika Film Festival, Cologne 2023
Mention spéciale du jury, Biografilms, Bologne 2023

Watch the trailer here.


Alain Kassanda left the Democratic Republic of the Congo for France at the age of 11. After studying communication, he began staging cycles of movie screenings and several film festivals in various Parisian theaters in 2003, and he was the film programmer for the movie theater Les 39 Marches in Sevran, near Paris, for five years. Alain Kassanda moved to Ibadan, in southwestern Nigeria, in 2015. Trouble Sleep (2020) is the starting point of his film triptych dedicated to Ibadan. His work Colette and Justin (2022) premiered at IDFA and won the Gilda Vieira De Mello Award at FIFDH. His latest work, Coconut Head Generation (2023), was selected at New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center and MoMA and won the Grand Prize at Cinéma du réel. It will be shown at Columbia Maison Francaise on Monday, October 9 at 6:30 PM. More information here.

Souleymane Bachir Diagne is Professor of Philosophy and French at Columbia University and Director of the Institute of African Studies. His field of research includes the history of logic, history of philosophy, Islamic philosophy, and African philosophy and literature.

This film is presented as part of the Columbia University Maison Française 2023 Film Festival, Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present. The festival was curated by Shanny Peer, Fanny Guex, and Ilana Custos-Quatreville. The full festival program can be found HERE.