Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc is a French artist whose work, Cinéma chez les Balantes, was presented as part of the 2014 Images Festival in Toronto. Balantes is based on Abonnec’s interest in French director Sarah Maldoror, who assisted Gillo Pontecorvo on The Battle of Algiers, and her unfinished film, Guns for Banta, in particular. The film, which would have been Maldoror’s debut, was commissioned by the Algerian government, who later confiscated what was shot of the film.
In Balantes, Abonnenc’s quasi-archive includes 35mm slides of production photos, conversations between Maldoror and Abonnenc, Romanian posters for Maldoror’s Sambizanga, and diary entries by Banta’s production photographer. Mathieu joined us at 401 Richmond to discuss the work, the historical context, the montage techniques used with the projector, and how the multimedia registers affect the spectator.
This interview was published in January of 2015.