Home Entertainment Mubi Buys Berlinale Highlight ‘Dahomey’ by Mati Diop for North America, U.K.,...

Mubi Buys Berlinale Highlight ‘Dahomey’ by Mati Diop for North America, U.K., Germany and More Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

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Mubi has bought “Dahomey,” a highlight of this year’s Berlinale competition and directed by Cannes prizewinner Mati Diop (“Atlantics”), for North America, Latin America, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and India.

The feature film is represented in international markets by Films du Losange, which negotiated the deal with Mubi. “Dahomey” marks the sophomore outing of Diop, a French-Senegalese talent who is considered one of the leading figures in international arthouse cinema and of a new wave in African and diasporic cinema. Her feature debut, “Atlantics,” won the Grand Prize at Cannes in 2019, and went to win the Nation Board of Review Award, as well as nominations for a Critics Choice Award and Director’s Guild Award.

In “Dahomey,” Diop explores the issue of colonization through the story of precious artworks restituted to their country of origin, the present-day Republic of Benin after being plundered, along with thousands of others, by French colonial troops in 1892, when the African country was called the Kingdom of Dahomey. But while the soul of the artifacts is freed, debate rages among students of the University of Abomey-Calavi, questioning what attitude to adopt to these ancestors’ homecoming in a country that had to forge ahead in their absence. Weaving fantasy and documentary, “Dahomey” also boasts a powerful soundtrack, scored by musicians Wally Badarou and Dean Blunt.

The movie reteams Diop with “Atlantics” producers, Eve Robin and Judith Lou Levy at Les Films du Bal. Diop is co-producing through her banner Fanta Sy based in Senegal. 

Mubi will release the film in late 2024. “Dahomey” was unanimously praised by critics upon its world premiere in competition at the Berlinale, with Variety calling the film a “striking, stirring example of the poetry that can result when the dead and the dispossessed speak to and through the living.”

Diop is also a well-known actor, who notably starred in Claire Denis’ “35 Rhums” and “Fire.” She has also directed several shorts, including “Big in Vietnam and “Snow Canon” which played at Venice.

Mubi’s roster of recent and upcoming Mubi releases include Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” Ira Sachs’ “Passages,” Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life,” and Molly Manning Walker’s “How to Have Sex.”

Alex Ritman contributed to this report.