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Cannes 2023 is a showcase for African cinema

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"Banel & Adama" is among the contenders for the prestigious Palme d’Or

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — It is a historic year for African cinema at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, showcasing more films and filmmakers associated with Africa than ever before.

Films with connections to the continent include selections from Tunisia, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, and Cameroon, along with off-screen recognition for legendary Malian writer-director Souleymane Cissé – who was honored on Wednesday with the Carrosse d’Or award for cinematic pioneers.

Among the contenders for the prestigious Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize, is “Banel & Adama,” the debut feature for French Senegalese director Ramata-Toulaye Sy. The film, a late surprise addition to the official selection, premiered on Saturday in Cannes’ Grand Théâtre Lumière.

“For me, it is important to tell stories that take place in Africa because this continent has to be seen and needs to be recognized more than it does today, with more universal and different stories – not just stories about how poor the continent is, the war, the terrorism,” Sy told CNN in an interview ahead of the festival.

To premiere in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, she added, “makes you dream.”

Look through the gallery at the top of this page for more on the African films and filmmakers at Cannes 2023.

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