First Film Prize 2005, FIDMarseille, France
You look at yourself in a broken mirror. You see pieces of your face. Your face is in pieces. […] I felt myself dissolving in the light, it seemed too bright to me. It penetrated me through all of my pores. I did not feel whole anymore. I was fragments of Khady. I was tipping over into madness. How to speak madness, to express the suffering? In 1994, while she herself was falling ill, Khady Sylla, the director, met Aminta Ngom who was then openly exhibiting her madness. She became her window onto the world. Today, Khady visits Aminta, who lives as a recluse in her family yard. By mirror effect, in making this film, the director proceeds towards her own therapeutic process.
A word from Tënk
Khady Sylla hatched the idea of a film about her own mental illness while on a writing residency on the island of Gorée in Senegal. French producer Sophie Salbot took on the project, won over by the character and concept, and developed it into the brilliant An Open Window. Charlie Van Damme, who began the shoot as a camera operator, ended up assisting Sylla on direction, taking on the same role for her following film The Silent Monologue, an unsparing portrait of the conditions suffered by female servants in Senegal. Sylla died in 2013, leaving a small but profound body of work behind.
Pascale Paulat et Christophe Postic
États généraux du film documentaire