july, 2021

30jul8:00 pm10:00 pmDjibril Diop Mambéty’s “Hyenas” Comes to the Backlot CinemaEpsilon Spires to Screen a Satirical Masterpiece About Globalization Through an African Lens8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Event Organized By: Epsilon Spires

Event Details

As the sun sets on Friday, July 30th, the downtown Brattleboro arts organization Epsilon Spires will transform its parking lot into an outdoor movie theater for another evening of film and food in the Backlot Cinema Series. This week’s event pairs Djibril Diop Mambéty’s feature-length film Hyenas (1992) with Somali snacks by Jilib Jiblets.


Hyenas, which was nominated for the Golden Palm Award at Cannes in 1992, is a Senegalese adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit—although with a distinctly African approach to storytelling born out of a rich history of oral tradition. 


Mambéty’s first film, Touki Bouki (1972), won the International Critics Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and is considered by many to be the vanguard of new African cinema. Imagery from the film has been influential in pop culture, inspiring a video used in Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” tour in 2018.


Hyenas, Mambéty’s second and last feature film, tells the story of a woman returning to her impoverished hometown after amassing a fortune that has made her “as rich as the World Bank,” in the words of the villagers. In a wry commentary on the destructive influence of foreign wealth and power, the woman uses increasingly outlandish financial incentives to become the most influential person in the community, eventually persuading its inhabitants to turn against one of their own. 


“My goal was to make a continental film, one that crosses boundaries,” Mambéty told Transition magazine in 1998, shortly before his death from lung cancer at the age of fifty-three. “We borrowed elephants from the Masai of Kenya, hyenas from Uganda, people from Senegal.” He adds that “the film depicts a human drama. My task was to identify the enemy of humankind: money, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.”


Recently remastered in 4k UltraHD, Hyenas combines striking cinematography with a touch of the surreal to create an Africa that exists both in myth and in the hard realities of post-colonial capitalism. The film is also permeated by Mambéty’s keen sense of humor, with witty dialogue and clever visual contrasts that brighten the darker themes of Hyenas.


Refreshments during the screening will be available from Jilib Jiblets, a Winooski-based Somali catering company run by Said Bulle. “I grew up watching my mother cook for the family at her small restaurant in Jilib,” says Bulle on the company’s website. “When I came to America at the age of fifteen, I started to search for ways to connect with her. I found that connection in the kitchen.”


Jilib Jiblets will also be catering an event at Epsilon Spires the following night, July 31st, when Sandglass Theater presents a screening of their project “BABYLON: Journeys of Refugees,” which features an ensemble of performers telling refugees’ stories in puppetry and original songs. 


Audience members for Backlot Cinema screenings are encouraged to bring blankets, pillows, and chairs to make themselves comfortable. Tickets for the event, which include entry into a raffle for gift certificates to local businesses, are $10 each. Restrooms will be available throughout the evening. In the event of rain, the screening will take place in the Sanctuary of Epsilon Spires.


To purchase tickets, and for information about upcoming screenings in the Backlot Cinema Series, please visit www.epsilonspires.org/backlotcinema.




(Friday) 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Epsilon SpiresJamie Mohr 190 Main Street

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