Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Money, Freedom, a Story of the CFA Franc’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2023, Movies by - May 02, 2023
Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Money, Freedom, a Story of the CFA Franc’

Sources tell me that Money, Freedom, a Story of the CFA Franc is a feature length version of a Tv documentary. Yes, the forty more minutes that viewers at Hot Docs this year get are essential in fleshing out what may, in lesser hands, be a confusing economics lesson. The documentary’s interviewees economists and former statemen, mostly sub Saharan West Africans, and it lets them watch newsreels of the men who were in their positions during the 1960s. These historical figures are important for helping betray Africans who were formally under the thumb of French political and now economic colonialism. Most people know about how the loans from the IMF hindered West African countries from progressing. The documentary touches on that as well as taking a few steps back, showing that the problem goes deeper. It traces the problem back when France introduced the CFA Franc to its colonies.

Viewers watch as Money distills a century of colonialism in 100 or so minutes. To summarize, France and other colonial powers used their money, the franc, to buy African goods instead of converting their money to existing African currencies. France then introduced the CFA or the African version of the franc to its colonies. France’s military colonialism comes and go the but the CFA franc stays. Again, all of this may sound boring if a different documentary is telling this story, but this one somehow attaches emotions to these ideas and it works, effectively showing how large forces affect families and individuals. It also doesn’t excuse the Europeanized African elite of responsibility, as the documentary lets some interviewees explain how some French colonies can use different strategies at the right time to be independent. Telling this story is Katy Lena Ndiaye, whose directorial hand make her a voice worth following.

  • Release Date: 4/30/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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