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Opening film | 46th edition

Cinéma du réel is pleased to announce that its 46th edition will open with the French premiere of Dahomey by Mati Diop, produced by Les Films du Bal and Fanta Sy and distributed by Les Films du Losange.

Consider how these 26 royal treasures, shorn of their status as artefacts in European museums, have regained their foundational power of incarnation. Consider these men and women, reconnecting with these treasures and with their own political, poetic, and symbolic history. Consider this young African generation, whose committed, critical, and constructive vision we are made to share. All are portrayed through a series of majestic, rigorous, lyrical, and intense shots. With great purpose, Mati Diop captures the precious, fantastical, and yet undeniably real moment in which history is redefined. 

– Catherine Bizern

Dahomey by Mati Diop 
2024 | France, Senegal, Benin | 67’

November 2021. 26 royal treasures of the Kingdom of Dahomey are about to leave Paris to return to their country of origin, the present-day Republic of Benin. Along with thousands of others, these artefacts were plundered by French colonial troops in 1892. But what attitude to adopt to these ancestors’ homecoming in a country that had to forge ahead in their absence? The debate rages among students at the University of Abomey-Calavi.