Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako • 2006 • France, Mali
Starring Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Maimouna Hélène Diarra
Celebrated filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako seamlessly melds the personal and the political in this bold, unforgettable exploration of globalization and its devastating effects on contemporary Africa. In Bamako, the capital city of Mali, an extraordinary trial is taking place in a residential courtyard. Ordinary citizens have taken up proceedings against such institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, whom they blame for perpetuating Africa’s debt crisis. As numerous trial witnesses—schoolteachers, farmers, writers, and others—air bracing indictments of the global economic machinery that exploits them, life in the courtyard presses forward. A lounge singer and her unemployed husband teeter on the verge of breaking up, a security guard’s gun goes missing, a young man lies ill, a wedding procession passes through, and women keep everything rolling—dyeing fabric, minding children, spinning cotton, and speaking their minds. Filled with a lush mix of warm colors and impassioned music, BAMAKO interweaves political grievances and visual poetry in an original and profoundly moving way.