Rêve d'Afrique - The African Face of Corneille

Jos Wassink's search for the source of inspiration. COBRA painter Corneille travels back to Africa, his youth and his dreams.

Description» Credits »
Certificat of Merit - Chicago International Film Festival, 1993
Certificat of Merit - Houston International Film Festival, 1993
Démarche artistique - XVIIe International Festival of Films on Art 1993 - Paris, 1993

Screened at over 20 film festivals, a.o.:

Dutch Film Days , Utrecht , 1992.

4th International Documentary Film Festival, Odivelas, 1993.

11th International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal, 1993.

Prix Europa, Berlin, 1993, (competition).

Prix Futura, Berlin, 1993, (competition)

Corneille in de Afrikaanse woestijn


The African people, rituals, forms and colours have inspired many artists. One of them is Corneille, the well known Dutch painter. Corneille, together with Karel Appel, started the Experimental Group in 1948 and joined Cobra in the same year.
Africa is Corneille's passion. He has travelled through this continent several times, and these travels have influenced his work decidedly. To reconstruct the African influence on his work, to understand the relationship between passion, creative inspiration and his artistic works, Corneille once again travels through this continent.

The film Rêve d'Afrique starts just before the trip, in Paris. There, in one of his studios packed with African statues, masks and other objects, the artist makes his paintings that breathe the atmosphere of a colourful Africa bathing in sunlight.

The scene then shifts to Africa. We follow the painter during his journey through the impressive landscapes of the Hoggar desert in Algeria and the Dogon valley in Mali. We visit the lively market of Djenne, also in Mali, and Emile Gbeli, a fascinating sculptor from Ivory Coast who developed a new, distinctive African art form.

In between, the painter tells about the development of his artistic works. The sun, the contrast between chaos and order, birds, masks and women - especially women - inspire Corneille and appear to be the most important themes in his work. Woman, because according to Corneille "the body of a woman is the summit of creation ..... the way it's put together .... you can't imagine it more beautiful".

The film also shows him painting. He draws from a model, something one wouldn't expect from an abstract artist. His poetical style, less aggressive compared to other experimental painters, takes shape. Inch by inch the image arises of an extraordinary painter.

Corneille meets a Touareg in the Algerian desert

young models presenting Corneille's paintings


Written and directed by:  Jos Wassink

Produced by Kaie Klaassen for Moving Image Production

Production Algeria: Djaffar ben Aïssa

Production Mali: Wouter van Beek

Production Ivory Coast: Ronald Kerkhoven    

Photography: Melle van Essen

Editing: Jacques Verheul

RÊVE d'AFRIQUE is a Moving Image Production film an assignment of TV1 Holland/Humanistische Omroep Stichting in collaboration with the Museum for Arts and Sciences Museon, The Hague and the Centre Algérien pour l'Art et l'Industrie Cinématographiques, Algeria, co-financed by Stimuleringsfonds Nederlandse Culturele Omroepproducties with the support of Documentary, Media Programme of the European Communities

Media Programme Stimuleringsfonds Nederlandse Culturele Omroepproducties De Humanistische Omroep Stichting

Original language Dutch & French

Released: September 1992

Running time: 53'12"

Length: 1600 mtrs./5250 ft.

Formats: 35 mm (1:1.66)/video/digital

copyright © Moving Image Production, 1992

Corneille: “The body of a woman is the summit of creation”