I just saw this film in Bamako; Souleymane Cissé was there, as were a few of the child actors from the film. This is the only film I've seen by him; as he is generally rated the greatest film director in Africa, I had high hopes.
I thought the film was terrible. The characters were cardboard-cutout stereotypes. The plot was ridiculous and made no sense. The dialogue (what little of it there was) sounded false. As a previous reviewer says, he tried to "address" a lot of issues, but he failed to give anything but a predictable and brief look at any of them. The overall effect is like one of those terrible "political" songs that most African rap or reggae stars feel obliged to record, where they clumsily try to cram big French words into the music.
The cinematography was very nice, I should say, but a little overdone, in the French style: shots of beautiful scenery that just go on a little to long.
It's a shame that so many people feel obliged to cut M. Cissé so much slack, I suppose because there just aren't that many African film directors.
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