African Film puts the West on Trial
Fri Dec 08,2006
Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako puts the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Programs in front of judge and jury in his film Bamako, co-produced by American actor Danny Glover, which will screen at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
Using professional actors and members of the public, Bamako takes place in the courtyard of a house used by many families. Throughout the film, real life takes place in and around the action of the trial: a couple breaks up, another couple weds, fabric is dyed and meals are prepared.
Everyday citizens of Africa’s nations, beleaguered by years of debt repayment and schemes conceived by Western nations to privatize state industries, weave in and out of the trial, voicing their woes in a chorus of voices.
Discussing his motivation in making the film, Sissako says, “no court of law exists to call into question the power of the strongest. It wasn’t so much a question of laying the blame on who is guilty than denouncing the fact that the predicament of hundreds of millions of people is the result of policies that have been decided outside their universe. ”
The film’s gravitas is interrupted by moments of humour, as in a surreal ‘film within a film,’ where Glover rides into town accompanied by fellow filmmakers Elia Suleiman and Zeka Laplaine, to engage in a dusty, Western-style shoot-out with the truth itself at stake.
Bamako has been screened at Cannes, from where it has gone on to international acclaim. It will screen at DIFF on Wednesday, 13 December at 6:00 pm at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 10, and on Friday, 15 December at 6:15 pm at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 11; director Aberrahmane Sissako and producer Maji-da Abdi will be in attendance.