50 Countries Project #1: When the Stars Meet the Sea (Madagascar)

In the child’s dreams, the sound of the tide transforms into one of stampeding hooves in a cattle pen; a memory of a formative trauma that has left him crippled. This is the first post-credits sequence of Raymond Rajaonarivelo’s When the Stars Meet the Sea (Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer, 1996), an at-times uneven but often impressive film that marks my first encounter with the cinema of Madagascar.

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50 Countries Project: Seeking a truly international cinema

A still from Youssef Chahine’s 1959 Egyptian film Cairo Station.

Since my teenage years, I’ve had a passion for film – particularly those films emerging from outside the Hollywood mainstream. And yet, for all my declared interest in world cinema, my tastes have been fairly predictable in their own way. A cursory look at the country-of-origin column in my list of favourite films will show that I’m seeing a lot of work from Europe and North America, a little from Asia and scarcely anything from Africa or Latin America.

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