Scen.: Timité Bassori. F.: Ivan Baguinoff. M.: Guy Ferrant. Scgf.: Timité Bassori. Int.: Timité Bassori (the boy/the man in the tuxedo), Marie Vieyra (the woman with the knife), Danielle Alloh (the girl), Tim Sory, Emmanuel Diaman, Bertin Kouakou. Prod.: Société Ivoirienne de Cinéma . DCP. D.: 77’. Bn.
La Femme au couteau stands unquestionably as Timité Bassori’s most accomplished work. It focuses on the story of a young Westernized Ivorian who seeks appeasement for his existential anguish and hallucinatory sexual fears through traditional African healing and modern Western psychoanalysis. According to Bassori, the film is “a personal experience and the result of multifarious observations of life”. La Femme au couteau is the cyclical interweaving of two stories which take place in a climate of psychological incertitude made to misdirect and puzzle viewers. The main plot concerns a young Ivorian bourgeois who suffers psychotic nightmares while enduring visual resurgence of a woman with a knife. This schizophrenic ailment generates a seemingly incurable social and psychological estrangement. The subplot of this film revolves around an older African man wearing a tuxedo (no doubt a caricature of the solemn and artificial grab of Western civilization) who aimlessly strolls about the streets and bars of Abidjan. […] The man in the tuxedo metaphorically illustrates psychological and cultural alienation. He is but a reflection of the main protagonist, who also finds himself caught between traditional African mores and Western modernity. […] Insisting on the symbolic aspect of his work, Bassori states La Femme au couteau is old traditional Africa who feels abandoned by her children and becomes as peevish as a possessive mother who uses threat to retrieve her stray offspring.
Françoise Pfaff, Twenty-five Black African Filmmakers, Greenwood Press, New York 1988
Restored in 4K nel 2019 by Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation’s.
This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Fepaci and Unesco – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore and disseminate African cinema.