I love it when black people achieve something great. Even better: when black women achieve something great. Such is the case of French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop who, this week, made history as the first black woman to win the Grand Prix at Cannes, one of its two most prestigious prizes.
Here’s the film’s official synopsis: Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hopes of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.
This is Diop’s directorial debut, and the movie stars Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou, Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye and Diankou Sembene. Most importantly, Netflix has scooped up the world rights of the film. This is, of course, in accordance with Netflix’s drive towards expanding its African content.
Diop, who previously directed four shorts and a medium-length feature film, received the Martin E. Segal Emerging Artist Award from the Lincoln Center in 2016. Her films have screened at the Venice International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the MoMA and more. As an actress, she’s also appeared in multiple films over the past several years, including Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum.
Watch a clip from from Atlantique below: