Malian Cinema on the Mall
Open Free to the Public
Baird Auditorium Ground Floor, National Museum of Natural History
Screening times: 1 pm
Acclaimed feature-length films, two documentaries, and one animation from
Mali, shown in conjunction with the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Malian cinema is known for its rich storytelling and imagery.
Th 26 Guimba, un Tyran un Epoque (Guimba the Tyrant). (1995, 93 min. In
Bambara and Peul/Eng. subtitles.) Winner of the most prestigious award of
African cinema, the 1995 Yennenga Stallion, this film is a meditation on
tyranny and demonstrates indeed that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Guimba=s tyranny knows no boundaries. His excesses, however, bring about his
inevitable downfall. Director: Cheick Oumar Sissoko.
Fri 27 Kabala. (2002, 76 min. In Bambara and French/Eng. subtitles.) The
well in this small town of the Mandé is drying up; but the elders will not
accept human intervention, fearing that it would desecrate the well.
However, when Hamala returns to Kabala after four years of absence, things
are bound to change. Director: Assane Kouyaté
Su 29 Bamako Sigi Kan (The Pact of Bamako). (2002, 76 min. In Bambara,
French, and Eng.) In this documentary, Manthia Diawara returns to Bamako
from New York City where he lives and captures the concerns and aspirations
of Malians at the beginning of the 21st century. These include conflicting
views about globalization and the desire of Malian youth for uncensored
self-expression through hip hop and sabar. (local dance form). Director:
Manthia Diawara, in person.
We 2 Passé vivant (Living Memory). (2003, 53 min. In Bambara and
French/Eng. subtitles.) This first installment of a six-part documentary
film series is arguably one of the most comprehensive looks at Malian art
and culture on film. It explores issues of photography, music, architecture,
ritual arts, and the complexities of cultural display. In person: Susan
Vogel (writer/director) and Samuel Sidibé (producer/writer).
L=enfant terrible (The Mischievous Child). (Animation, 1993, 12 min.) This
is the story of a child who talks, eats and walks on the day of his birth. A
few days later, he goes looking for his brother, finds him, and they journey
together. What follows is the adventure of a little, ungrateful boy who
drags his brother into his wrongdoing. A film by Kadiatou Konaté. (For six
years and older)
Th 3 Faraw, mère des sables (Faraw, Mother of the Dunes). (1997, 90 min. In
Songhoi/Eng. subtitles.) This is a story of a woman=s self-determination in
the face of tremendous obstacles. Zamiatou is the mother of two boys and a
teenage girl and the wife of a tortured former political prisoner. Refusing
to let her daughter resort to prostitution to provide for the family, she
takes her family=s destiny in her own hands and walks miles in the desert in
search of daily bread * Director: Abdoulaye Ascofaré.
Fri 4 La Genèse (Genesis). (1999, 102 min. In Bambara/Eng. Subtitles.) La
Genèse is director Sissoko=s adaptation of chapters 24, 25, 34 and 37 of the
Book of Genesis. Using non-linear storytelling techniques and gorgeous
Malian settings and costumes, this film is an allegorical meditation on
fratricidal war -- anywhere in the world. Director: Cheick Oumar Sissoko.
Sa 5 Taafe Fanga (Skirt Power). (1997, 95 min. In Kaado and Bambara/Eng.
subtitles.) Set in the Dogon country in the 18th century, this film adapts a
Dogon myth in which women take power from men and invert gender roles. Men
cook, take care of babies and wear skirts, while women enjoy smoking,
wearing trousers and making decisions. The war of the sexes is declared. Who
will win? Director: Adama Drabo.
Su 6 Yeelen. (1987, 105 min. In Bambara/Eng. Subtitles.) When Souleymane
Cissé released Yeelen in 1987, it became an instant classic of world cinema.
Nianankoro (Issiaka Kane), a young man, acquires the secret knowledge of
Komo; but he is pursued by his father Soma (Niamanto Sanogo) who wants him
dead because he cannot stand his son being his equal. The final
confrontation between father and son is a piece of cinema history. Director:
Presented in conjunction with the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Sponsored by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the
National Museum of Natural History=s Office of Education and African Voices
Program, with support from the United States Department of State.
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite