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Celebrated director Abderrahmane Sissako (Timbuktu) returned to his home in Mali’s capital for this scathing indictment of neocolonialism.
Abderrahmane Sissako grew up in a mud-walled house in Bamako, Mali’s capital city. Now one of Africa’s most celebrated filmmakers, he returns to that modest family home to take on no less than the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In the courtyard once presided over by his late father, Sissako gathers lawyers, judges, and everyday witnesses to put globalization itself on trial.
Staying true to the aesthetic precision he developed in his previous films, Sissako begins Bamako in quiet observation and builds to a spirit of burning, righteous anger. Real Malians, real lawyers, and real judges speak freely here, giving the film an even greater urgency. Bold slashes of humour punctuate these riveting scenes, including a full-on western sequence featuring Danny Glover riding into town for a high-stakes shootout!
With Bamako, Sissako makes an audacious structural adjustment to the narrative of blame and amnesia that so often colours how rich countries view Africa. It’s a daring vision for our future. Poverty, the film insists, is not Africa’s curse. On the contrary: as witness Aminata Traoré notes, Africa is a victim of its wealth.