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Film Series | Isaach De Bankolé

Photo: Terasa Isasi

Frequent star of films by Claire Denis, Jim Jarmusch, and Lars Von Trier, the French actor Isaach De Bankolé has become the preeminent leading man in a contemporary wave of cinema tackling the effects of Western colonialism on Africa.

Originally born on the Ivory Coast before moving to Paris, where he was discovered on the street., Isaach De Bankolé has changed the face of French cinema as a pioneering leading man of color in French Cinema.

A César award winner, De Bankolé is well know to European audiences for his powerful, subtly intense, and compelling performances. Whether an assassin, Cameroonian houseboy to French colonialists, or asylum seeker, De Bankolé’s presents his characters will dignity, power, and refinement. No matter how complicated the moral code or choices a role tackles, De Bankolé’s imbues each performance with the grace and strength of a gentleman.

Surveying this extraordinary actor’s career, MAD is proud to team with the French Institute Alliance Française for Isaach De Bankolé: An Unexpected Gentleman. During the month of April films will be screened at both the historic theater at MAD and the French Institute. In addition, Mr. De Bankolé will join Jim Jarmush for an in-depth conversation about his work, as well as an imitate acting master class.

Isaach De Bankolé, An Unexpected Gentleman is co-presented by French Institute Alliance Française


This program is presented in conjuntion with the exhibition The Global Africa Project.

The Global Africa Project is made possible by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation as part of its International Cultural Engagement initiative. 

With additional support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg and HSBC. 

Important funds were also provided by a group of private donors.

Major support for the exhibition catalogue was provided by Basil Alkazzi, who gave additional funds in memory of Judi Hoffman.

  • The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Bloomberg
  • HSBC

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