Henri Duparc’s Bal poussière… dusted off at Cannes Classics

Picture of the movie Bal Poussière © DR


Cannes Classics rediscovers a delicious Ivorian comedy by Henri Duparc, Bal poussière, released in 1989. Polygamy, the weight of customs and the clash between urban and rural worlds loom large in this film in its restored version.

"My name is Alcaly, I am a farmer, I have money and I will marry you". Alcaly calls himself Demi-Dieu, he has five wives and plans to marry Binta, the latest arrival. It's quite simple, he will have one woman a day and on Sundays he will spend the day with "the most deserving". Except that young Binta does not intend to give in so easily…

Bal poussière is a film about strong women. On the surface, Demi-Dieu is in charge, he has money, power, and uses it to play his wives off against each other. But the arrival of Binta shatters the certainties of the farmer and his entire community. The young woman comes from Abidjan, where she used to study, go out and dance. But her aunt sent her back to the village because the young woman was living too frivolous a life for her taste. Her only goal is to return to the city to the man she loves, by any means necessary. In the village, a clash of cultures is played out, against a backdrop of questions about women's rights..

Henri Duparc has established himself as a major voice in African cinema. Trained in Belgrade, he has never ceased to take the pulse of Ivorian society with mischief and has given the people far greater access to cinemas. Bal poussière remains one of his greatest successes, hailed by critics for its humour and irreverence.

A presentation by the CNC and the Henri Duparc Foundation. Restoration of the original 16mm image negative by the CNC laboratory. 2K scan. Calibration: Hiventy. Sound restoration from the original 16mm magnetic film: L'Image Retrouvée.