Bamako. Melé is a bar singer, her husband Chaka is out of work and the couple is on the verge of breaking up... In the courtyard of the house they share with other families, a trial court ... See full summary »
In the last days of 1999, after a few shots of a French supermarket, abundant in food and color, we hear Dramane compose a letter home to his father in Mali whom he then visits in the ... See full summary »
A once-prosperous Senegalese village has been falling further into poverty year by year until the village's elders are reduced to selling town possessions to pay debts. Linguère, a former ... See full summary »
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Djibril Diop Mambéty,
Bamako. Melé is a bar singer, her husband Chaka is out of work and the couple is on the verge of breaking up... In the courtyard of the house they share with other families, a trial court has been set up. African civil society spokesmen have taken proceedings against the World Bank and the IMF whom they blame for Africa's woes... Amidst the pleas and the testimonies, life goes on in the courtyard. Chaka does not seem to be concerned by this novel Africa's desire to fight for its rights... Written by
During the inset "Death in Timbuktu" "western," just before the first gunshot, a car can be seen moving between two buildings in the background. This, however, could be interpreted as intentional by the director, who was parodying non-Western interpretations of a "western" (other countries who partake in a love of westerns are Thailand and Cambodia). The child in this scene is also wearing a Nike shirt. The effect is to present the sort of low-budget, pulp film one might see in a television broadcast in Mali, while supplying a metaphor to the actual movie's plot. See more »
An important Issue That Deserves a Much Better Forum
This film has it's heart in the right place, but unfortunately, it isn't much of a film. It is more of a documentary under the guise of a narrative. Bamako is basically a newspaper op-ed piece put on celluloid. However, your average well-researched op-ed piece is far more cogent and concise than anything presented here. The filmmaker is trying to relay to the viewer the hardships of African life, in particular the country of Mali, due to the unethical practices of the IMF, G8, and World Bank, by using the setting of a mock trial against the aforementioned. There is an extra 10 minutes dispersed throughout the film that makes a half-hearted attempt at a narrative plot, and a bizarre Hollywood Western-style shootout scene, where the director seems quite pleased with his own cleverness (hence, the frequent Godard comparisons).
Of course, as the film begins, what and who is on trial is never explained, but as we know by now, the French refuse to spoon-feed their audience.
There are many impassioned arguments made, but they are often long-winded, delivered in a shrill monotone (one that becomes quite easy to tune out after awhile), and very light on specifics. The last point is the most frustrating of all since there is a very well-reasoned specific case to be made against the institutions on trial here. Unfortunately, all we get in 2 hours is that the IMF and G8 are evil oppressors and should forgive 3rd-World debt. We are given no more than the occasional hint to the specific reasons why the organizations on trial are guilty, but never a clear case. The mock-trial arguments and the footage of the surrounding village makes the suffering of these African residents clear, but one wonders why we must sit through 2 hours of it, when a far more precise picture could be painted in a 20-minute Newsweek article, or Bill Moyers episode. In the end, there is something very important to be said on this issue, it simply isn't presented very well, or very clearly, in this pretentious, indulgent piece.
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