Sog., Scgf.: Med Hondo. F.: François Catonné, Jean-Claude Rahaga. M.: Michèle Masnier, Clément Menuet. Mus.: Georges Anderson. Int.: Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Gabriel Glissand, Mabousso Lô, Alfred Anou, Les Black Echos, Ambroise M’Bia, Akonio Dolo. Prod.: Grey Films, Shango Films. DCP. D.: 98’. Bn.
The restoration of Soleil Ô was made possible through the use of a 16mm reversal print, and 16mm and 35mm dupe negatives deposited by Med Hondo at Ciné-Archives, the audiovisual archive of the French Communist Party, in Paris. A vintage 35mm print preserved at the Harvard Film Archive was used as a reference. Colour grading was supervised by cinematographer François Catonné.
It was purely by chance that we ended up being artists ‘of colour’, as is the term usually used. In Paris together for basically the same reasons, Bachir, Touré, Robert and I found ourselves right in the middle of a country, a city, where we had to get by, for a lack of better words, where we had to work: being an actor, a musician, a singer. And where we realized immediately the doors were closed […]. As a solution we thought of creating a theater group and, in the meantime, we all made Soleil Ô. In order to make the film we had to overcome every bureaucratic and material obstacles, in other words, find a producer and tell him: “It’s the best story around, because we believe in it”. Like they say: “If you’re good at talking, you’re good at making film”. And so, we made Soleil Ô without money […]. All the scenes were based on reality. Because racism isn’t invented, especially in film. It’s like a kind of cloak put on you, that you’re forced to live with. Even the confession scene, at the beginning: in fact, in the Antilles, where I was born, they taught children that knowing how to speak Creole was a sin to confess. I know that the cinema you called cinéma-vérité has always avoid saying things of the kind. The only thing it has done in this sense is take black faces and mix them in the crowds. To demonstrate that as the West continues to expand itself economically, the more it will need black labor. And so Africa will always be an underdeveloped continent: saying the contrary is a lie […]. The original idea was to show tourist spots packed with blacks only. All of a sudden you would see Sacré-Cœur, and you would see only blacks. It would have had a powerful cinematographic impact. But the idea remained on paper and wasn’t translated into images.
Med Hondo, “Jeune Cinéma”,