Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Misty Copeland Series 'I Will What I Want' Directed by Sheldon Candis ('Luv') Watch: Misty Copeland Series 'I Will What I Want' Directed by Sheldon Candis ('Luv') OWN Will Explore One of America's Most Exclusive & Historically Significant African American Beach Communities in 'Sag Harbor' OWN Will Explore One of America's Most Exclusive & Historically Significant African American Beach Communities in 'Sag Harbor' Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Interview: Head Writer Robin Thede on How 'The Nightly Show w/Larry Wilmore' Provides What Late Night TV is Missing Interview: Head Writer Robin Thede on How 'The Nightly Show w/Larry Wilmore' Provides What Late Night TV is Missing Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' 'The Queen Latifah Show' Has Been Canceled After 2 Seasons 'The Queen Latifah Show' Has Been Canceled After 2 Seasons Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations  Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Jean-Pierre Bekolo On His Satirical Sci-Fi Lesbian Vampire Film 'Les Saignantes' ('The Bleeders')

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 10, 2012 at 2:28PM

I actually saw this film here in NYC about 4 years ago... other than the soundtrack, which I really dug, the film initially didn't really hook me.
0
Les Saignantes

I actually saw this film here in NYC about 4 years ago... other than the soundtrack, which I really dug, the film initially didn't really hook me.

I wanted to like it. Although I didn't hate it either. I definitely appreciated the ambition, and the fact that it was unlike much of what I'd seen in contemporary West African cinema at the time, but it still lagged in terms of key aspects like production values, and overall flow, which only distracted from what was a wholly original, and intriguing narrative.

However, since then, I've been looking planning for another opportunity to see the Cameroonian film, years after my initial viewing, to see how my older, much more informed (cinematically) self (especially when it comes to contemporary continental African cinema) reacts to it after a second viewing.

In short, the film (billed as sci-fi, although it's more of a genre-busting trip) is about 2 high-class prostitutes, who also happen to be lesbians (they call themselves "Les Saignantes," or "The Bleeders" or "The Bloodettes") in the year 2025, who use their sexuality to gain access to some of the highest ranking political officials in Cameroon, supposedly with the intent to rid the country of those corrupt men who have run Cameroon for decades, creating this dystopian society as presented in the film.

It's a heavily stylized flick, so visually, there's a bit to chew on. It’s, in essence, a criticism of rampant corruption in Cameroon, and the idea that women are the gender that will save and revive the country from its depression – a theme that’s common in a lot of African cinema, notably films by the late Ousmane Sembene and Desire Ecare, 2 of the more internationally recognizable African filmmakers, and both male, by the way.

Les Saignantes is directed by Jean-Pierre Bekolo, also a man. And the film continues a *trend* of sorts, in sub-saharan African cinema that features women as the key protagonists, portrayed as progressive, enlightened, as well as the higher moral and intellectual authority. Men are frequently framed in more unattractive portrayals – often as corrupt, sexist, stubborn or simpletons.

So, some might be turned off by that. However, there is some truth behind what might seem like dramatic exaggerations.

Unfortunately, it's not available on home video in the USA; but I did find it on AfricaFilmLibrary.com which lists the film as a streaming or downloadble rental. So if you're curious, you can watch it THERE. It's worth a look!

Before that (or after) check out this new interview with the director, courtesy of Smart Money TV, in which they revisit Les Saignantes, specifically. Bekolo talks about his motivations for the making of the film, its visual aesthetics, why science fiction allows you to ask the "what if" questions, how the protagonists' sexuality allows him to discuss all the institutions, their use of their bodies as weapons, and more.

Watch, listen and learn below; first watch the film's trailer, and then the interview follows underneath, as well as the poster:


Shadow & ActNewsletter