African Mirror

Soundtrack for a film by Mischa Hedinger

Europeans in particular have always projected their ideas of the continent onto Africa in grand fashion. This specific view is less a consequence of (post-)colonialism than its precondition. African Mirror depicts this complex relationship by way of example. In Switzerland, a country without its own colonies, travel writer, photographer, filmmaker and public speaker René Gardi (1909–2000) shaped a whole generation’s image of Africa. Using Gardi’s extensive stock of footage, mainly of Cameroon, and recordings as well as texts from his unpublished diaries, Mischa Hedinger has constructed a film essay using only archive material, which seeks less to create a portrait of an adventurer than to carry out a work of cinematographic field research. It is about the transcontinental history of media, their means of production and how in 20th-century Switzerland both were influenced significantly by one flamboyant character. African Mirror does indeed function as a mirror which equally serves to reflect on present-day images of Africa – and not only for the Swiss.

The film uses licensed tracks from 'Marijn', 'Ranonkel', and 'Dauw', as well as original soundtrack music by me.

African Mirror premiered at Berlinale (International Film Festival Berlin), 2019

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