Thursday, March 29, 2007

BAMAKO to show tonight at Vinegar Hill with Director

The UVA French Dept. presents a special screening of
with a Q&A Forum following the film with
Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako
The film was shot in Mali, the USA, & France, 2006 - 115 minutes.

To get a good idea of the content of the film here's an excerpt from Michael Phillips's review in the Chicago Tribune

Much of BAMAKO unfolds as a trial, held in the courtyard of a neighborhood in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. This African nation, as well as others, has seen its basic social services cut and cut again while massive debts are repaid to other countries. Witness after witness takes the stand, recounting tales of poverty, homelessness and bone-deep resentment about jobs and lives lost.

If a poke in the eye of the IMF was all BAMAKO had in mind, the film would cancel itself out in 10 minutes. But Sissako brings to life the surrounding neighborhood, as its inhabitants listen in on the trial broadcast while they go about their daily tasks. The film features a cast of non-actors playing roles very close to their experiences. A singer struggles to keep her marriage to an unemployed man together under duress. A freelance cameraman talks of filming weddings and murder sites alike; it is his documentary footage, soundless but fully expressive, that concludes BAMAKO.

Sissako has an unusual camera eye, patient and alert to the ebb and flow of both the courtroom sequences and the outside scenes. The music is wonderful as well, no more meaningful than when one elder witness, called to speak, utters not a word. Instead he sings a lament, and it's riveting. No subtitle accompanies this scene, and none is needed.

Click here to read Phillips's full review.
Also, check out A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times which also features a short video clip about the film.
And click here for Bamako's official site.


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