Burkina Faso

Med Hondo – Sarraounia (1986)

Sarrouina (Keïta), a young warrior queen of the Azna tribe well-schooled in the arts of herbalism and warfare, leads her people to victory against a neighboring tribe. But the real trial of strength for her comes when the French army marches south to widen its colonial grip on the African continent. The second half of the film focuses on the French, acidly but plausibly satirized as little tyrants whose megalomania swells in proportion with their failure to grasp the realities of the culture they are trying to crush. Grounded in careful historical research, Sarraounia is a superbly crafted and expansive film that strikes a celebratory, assertive tone. Read More »

Idrissa Ouedraogo – Yaaba AKA Grandmother (1989)

Quote:
A simple story about the status of old people in African society told with amazing grace”. A small african village. Bila, a ten year old boy who befriends an old woman, Sana. Everybody calls her ‘Witch’ but Bila himself calls her ‘Yaaba’ (grandmother). When Bilas cousin Nopoko gets sick it is Sana’s medicin who rescues her. Read More »

Haile Gerima – Sankofa (1993)

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From the New York Times review:
“In “Sankofa,” a contemporary African-American woman travels back in time and experiences slavery. Haile Gerima’s poetic and precisely detailed film takes its audience into its heroine’s life and mind as her moral sense is challenged and changed. No viewer can avoid the discomforting questions the film so eloquently raises.

The opening sequences, set and filmed in Ghana, are alternately seductive and off-putting. Among drums and chants, a voice invokes ancestral ghosts. “Spirit of the dead, rise up,” the voice says, “and claim your story.” The film’s title is a West African term meaning to reclaim the past in order to go forward, and “Sankofa” stumbles only in its depiction of the present. Read More »