Mati Diop is a French filmmaker and actress working in both France and Senegal. Her formally adventurous films explore exile and identity, memory and loss using fiction and documentary tools. Additionally Mati’s uncle is the celebrated Senegalese director Djbril Diop Mambéty, director of the landmark film Touki bouki (1973).
The films of Mati Diop conjure faraway places. Characters both fictional and quasi-documentary long for locales beyond their reach, or sometimes, as if in a trance, they drift magnetically toward them. No matter where the films take place, there is always the specter of somewhere else, and, perhaps with it, the possibility of a different life. These evocations of distant locations—a friend’s tropical Yucatan adventures relayed by text message in Snow Canon, memories of home mournfully recalled in Big in Vietnam, and the idea of an opportunity-rich Europe worth risking one’s life for in Atlantiques and A Thousand Suns (Mille soleils)—suffuse the concrete worlds her characters inhabit so that her films often seem to be in multiple places at once.