Cinema - Bamoko

The highlight of this movie, which depicts a mock trial of the Western world in a village in rural Mali, is the appearance of an old fellow, played by Zegue Bamba, who performs a mesmerising ululation denouncing the West’s policy of taking advantage of Africa’s lowly position in the world’s economic ladder. His is the most soul-piercing of the many voices which push home the same point: the First World is exploiting the Third World, and Africa in particular, with devastating consequences.
It’s not, however, an angry film. The voices on show are poignant, warm and intelligent. Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako (who made the 2003 hit ‘Waiting for Happiness’) takes a didactic approach to the subject, but he doesn’t deliver stern lectures. By focusing on the emotions of the characters concerned, he drives home the plight of a whole continent. He tells us that 50 million African children will starve to death in the next five years; he also points to the poverty-heightened tensions in the relationship of the film’s main protagonists, Aissa Maiga and Tiecoura Traore, on the point of splitting up while the trial unfolds in their garden. Entertaining scenes from the tough day-to-day lives of the village people are interwoven into the narrative; strangely there’s a whole section featuring the making of a Western in Timbuktu. A worthy film, then, but by no means a boring one. A timely showing by Lewes Cinema, as the world superpowers prepare for their latest G8 negotiations in Germany next week. DL

Bamako: poignant, moving, intelligent… but, importantly, not angry

All Saints Centre
When? 6pm
How Much? £5
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