LE RETOUR D’UN AVENTURIER :: A Moustapha Alassane short film


My favourite short film by an African filmmaker has to be Le retour d’un aventurier (1966). Without a doubt. Sorry I could not find a copy that has subtitles online but the story is a fairly simple one and easy to follow.

I came across this online a few years ago when I was doing research for a short film, ‘an African Western’ I was writing at the time, Meokgo and the Stickfighter.

Ever since I was kid growing up in the Free State and going to watch movies at a local Bioscope, I developed a huge fondness for Westerns and until today it is still my favourite genre of film.

As soon as I saw this, it blew my mind. I was struck by its unconventional approach to filmmaking and how it completely disregarded the rules.

It was certainly very different from the technically polished Hollywood films I was used to watching at a time and I was immediately charmed by its raw, experimental approach that was very much similar to the French New Wave aesthetics.

The acting is not the best I have seen but it does not matter. The director clearly used amateurs who were pretty much playing themselves. The camera is loose and the editing is full of jump-cuts that give the film its immediacy.  

This is a true African classic.


Like most South Africans, we fell in love with Teboho Mahlatsi's work on Yizo Yizo, the iconic South African TV series  about township youth. The series won over 10 international awards, including a Special Mention at Venice, where it was the first TV series ever to screen there.  

Teboho's reel crosses genres, from TV series to Gold Loerie-winning commercials to short films like Portrait Of A Young Man Drowning, which won a Silver Lion at Venice in 1999. 

Teboho was later the jury president of the short film section at Venice, so was the obvious choice as our first short film curator. Expect to see lots of his work on this site... 


:: Part of a 2017 MoMA retrospective on Alassane
:: Alassane was made Knight of the Legion of Honour at Cannes 2007


:: Director: Moustapha Alassane
:: Production company: Argos Films
:: Sound: Moussa Hamidou
:: Editing: Philippe Luzuy
:: Music: Nelos Amelonion


:: Ibrahim Yacouba
:: Zalika Souley
:: Abdou Nani
:: Djingarey Maiga