is a film that grows on you. Its power is subtle and you donít really feel the impact until itís all over. And when it has, its left with you something unshakeably real. Set in Bamako, a poor township in Mali, the film is directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. The film focuses on an outdoor trial against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Imagine a courtyard filled with people sitting quietly on benches listening to the presentations of French and African lawyers. In between women come and protest about the globalization of the international organizations, men come up to speak and are asked to wait their turn and sit down. Outside the courtyard women hang up wet garments, and the town moves with the comings and goings of daily life. An interesting insert features Danny Glover producer of the film, the director himself, Elia Suleiman, Jean Henri Roger and Zeka Laplaine who hunts down other cowboys, showing that the impact of the western world does not respect the African. The dialogue of the trial and the responses of the lawyers and townspeople bring home the disparities between the rich and the poor.
Africa is a rich continent that is and has been continually robbed of her gifts. Plundered and in debt for development the lawyers demand that the debts be wiped clean. This richness also evokes the recent event of New Orleans Louisiana, rich in oil whose assets are drained by companies offshore without returning anything to the city. Bamako
allows you to savor the inequities of power and brings home the pride and beauty of Africa in a calm and unfettered manner. The contemplative style makes it an unforgettable cinema experience. So pull up a bench and listen on to the testimony of the exploitation of a great continent.
© 2007 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 5/2007
Mali / USA / France - 2006