Actor (Bamako, Mali, 7.19.1936 – Paris, France, 4.17.2010)
A descendant of Kouyaté lineage, serving as griots since at least the 13th century, Sotigui Kouyaté was born in Mali to Guinean parents and is Burkinabé by adoption. Professional football player up to 1966, he was captain of Burkina Faso national football team. He dedicated then to teaching and to acting. Kouyaté began his theater career in 1966, when he appeared as adviser to the king in a historical play produced by his friend Boubacar Dicko. That year, he founded a theater company with 25 people and soon wrote his first play, The Crocodile’s Lament.
His career in film started in French film Protection des recoltes by Jean David. He played supporting roles up to his meeting with Peter Brook. Kouyaté has worked with Brook on his theater and film projects since they became associated with one another while working on Brook’s adaptation of the Indian epic The Mahabharata in 1983. After that many more roles will follow, in TV series and features, under the direction of Bernardo Bertolucci (The Sheltering Sky, 1990), Amos Gitai (Golem, the Spirit of the Exile, 1992), Rachid Bouchareb (Little Senegal, 2001), Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things, 2002), among others.
In 2009, Kouyaté won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale Filmfestival for his role in Rachid Bouchareb’s drama London River, about the 2005 London bombings, that was to be his latest role. He is the father of the director Dani Kouyaté (who directed him in Keita! L’heritage du griot, 1996), of the writer Hassane Kassi Kouyaté et of the actor Toumani Kouyaté.
Kouyaté was involved also in some Italian productions and coproductions, notably Marco Ferreri’s Come sono buoni i bianchi, filmed in Morocco and also starring Cheik Doukouré, Pascal N’zonzi, Katoucha, Ben Taleb Moha and Alex Descas; German-Italian-French Margarethe Von Trotta’s L’Africana, and French-Italian docufiction Genesis.
Come sono buoni i bianchi (1988, Marco Ferreri, ff, act), L’africana (1990, Margarethe von Trotta, ff, act), Genesis (2005, Claude Nuridsany, Marie Perennou, ff, act)
Frame taken from:
Come sono buoni i bianchi. Dir. Marco Ferreri. Gruppo Bema, 23 Giugno, Reteitalia, Caméra One, Paris, Compagnia Iberoamericana Filmes International, Madrid, J.M.S. Films, Paris, 1988.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi, with Renato Forgione and Renata Ornella Orlando
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