The indocile image: cinema and history in Med Hondo's Soleil O and Les Bicots-Nègres, Vos Voisins

The project of this article is to engage the field of cinema and history (a field that has traditionally been theorized from a primarily Euro-American perspective) by taking Africa as a point of departure, and, more specifically, the cinema of Med Hondo, one of the major film directors on the continent whose work is arguably obsessed with history. Through a case study of his first two masterpieces, Soleil O (1970) and Les Bicots-Nègres, Vos Voisins (1974), the article explores the ways in which the director has succeeded in producing what has been referred to as an indocile image, one that is agnostic vis-à-vis orthodoxies in cinema and history alike. He does so by not only critically deploying many of the categories of the historiographical operation, but also by formally exploring new ways of engaging history with film. It may be argued that some of the avenues he opened four decades ago are yet to be fully used or surpassed.