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Bamako (2006) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
18 October 2006 (France) See more »
Bamako. Melé is a bar singer, her husband Chaka is out of work and the couple is on the verge of breaking up... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Local color and argumentation in a passionate polemic set in Mali See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order)

Aïssa Maïga ... Melé
Tiécoura Traoré ... Chaka
Maimouna Hélène Diarra ... Saramba (as Hélène Diarra)
Balla Habib Dembélé ... Falaï (as Habib Dembélé)
Djénéba Koné ... La soeur de Chaka
Hamadoun Kassogué ... Le journaliste
William Bourdon ... Avocat partie civile
Mamadou Kanouté ... Avocat de la défense (as Mamadou Konaté)
Gabriel Magma Konate ... Le procureur (as Magma Gabriel Konaté)
Aminata Traoré ... Témoin 2

Danny Glover ... Cow-boy

Elia Suleiman ... Cow-boy

Abderrahmane Sissako ... Cow-boy (as Dramane Sissako)
Jean-Henri Roger ... Cow-boy
Zeka Laplaine ... Cow-boy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Assa Badiallo Souko ... Witness 5
Zegué Bamba ... Witness 1
Dramane Bassaro ... Cowboy
Ferdinand Batsimba ... Cowboy
Boissou Berthé
Jean Paul Boiré ... Le gardien
Lamine Camara
Youssouf Camara ... L'huissier audiencier
Hassan Chérif
Mariam Cissé ... Un juge assesseur
Abdoulaye Coulibaly ... Le vendeur de lunettes
Nana Coulibaly
Souleymane Diagouraga ... Le malade
Oumou Berthé Diakité ... Un juge assesseur
Samba Diakité ... Witness 6
Alou Diarra ... Un juge assesseur
Diakaida Doumbia
Issa Doumbia
Pasteur Ezéquiel ... Le pasteur
Dahirou Iogo ... L'infirmier
Bina Keita
Georges Keita ... Witness 4
Madou Keita ... Witness 3
Mamou Kimbiry
Sali Konaté
Basékou Koné
Mamadou Loussine Koné ... L'enquêteur
Abdoulaye Kouyaté
Rokia Kouyaté ... La griotte
Hamèye Mahalmadane ... President of the tribunal
Andrew Mensah ... Le traducteur
Roland Rappaport ... Avocat de la defense
Aissata Tall Sall ... Avocate partie civile
Sahl Samaké ... Le policier
Mamadou Savadogo ... Avocat de la defense
Abdallah Sissoko
Fatoumata Sissoko
Jiddou Sissoko
Mohamed Sissoko ... Un enfant
N'Deye Sissoko ... La speakerine
Ramala Sissoko
Issa Socko
Hassane Soré
Oussène Soré
Bobo Tandina
Fodé Tounkara
Souleymane Tounkara ... Un enfant
Hawa Mamoudou Touré
Amindada Dramane Traoré
Hawa Traoré
Sanala Traoré ... Un enfant

Directed by
Abderrahmane Sissako 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Abderrahmane Sissako 

Produced by
Maji-da Abdi .... executive producer
Joslyn Barnes .... executive producer
Denis Freyd .... producer
Danny Glover .... executive producer
Arnaud Louvet .... executive producer: Arte
François Sauvagnargues .... executive producer: Arte
Abderrahmane Sissako .... producer
Cinematography by
Jacques Besse 
Film Editing by
Nadia Ben Rachid 
Pauline Casalis 
Production Design by
Mahamadou Kouyaté 
Costume Design by
Maji-da Abdi 
Makeup Department
Batoma Kouyaté .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Thomas Alfandari .... production manager
Ndiouga Moctar Ba .... production manager: Mali (as Moctar Bâ)
Dramane Traoré .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Philippe Tourret .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Christophe Bourreau .... foley artist
Lin Chang .... adr recordist
Geraldine Falieu .... assistant dialogue editor
Dana Farzanehpour .... sound
Charles Ferré .... boom operator
Bruno Tarrière .... sound mixer
Christophe Winding .... sound editor
Visual Effects by
Stephanie Boutinaud .... visual effects coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Marco Beaurepaire .... gaffer
Emmanuel Daou .... still photographer
Makhete Diallo .... camera operator
Thomas Nikiema .... camera operator (as Thomas Nikéma)
Lydie Rappaport .... still photographer
Abdourahmane Somé .... camera operator
Gilles Viallard .... still photographer
Editorial Department
Nicolas Criqui .... digital conformation
Frederic Jupin .... editor: Colurus
Carlos Pinto .... assistant editor
Philippe Reinaudo .... digital intermediate technical director
Raymond Terrentin .... colorist
Philippe Tourret .... post-production coordinator
Clement Zveguintzoff .... digital conformation
Other crew
Sophie Audier .... script supervisor
Pierre Escande .... production assistant
Romeo Julien .... avid conformation

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
115 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Netherlands:9 (DVD rating) | Netherlands:AL (original rating) (DVD rating) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Vaud) | UK:PG
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Crew or equipment visible: 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 »


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42 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Local color and argumentation in a passionate polemic set in Mali, 27 September 2006
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

As recently as Ousmane Sembene's 2004 Moolaadé we saw a sort of African town meeting: such spirited democratic palavers are a feature of African local life. In Bamako, also known as The Court, Sisako has staged a mock trial of the IMF, the World Bank, and the other international financial institutions run by the rich countries that have perhaps contributed to the impoverishment and demographic ravaging of contemporary Africa more than they have helped the continent. This event takes place in the middle of a big busy square in a section of the capital of Mali, Bamako.

There is a whole panoply of characters – a beautiful queen bee (an example of the grace and poise of African women), Melé (Aissa Maiga) and her husband Chaka (Tiecoura Traore). Melé's a popular singer whose marriage is disintegrating and two of her spirited songs are integrated into the film. People watch TV, and the director ironically injects into his film a "western" set in Timbukto, in which incongruous white men as well as Palestinian director Elia Suleiman and Bamako's producer Danny Glover shoot each other. The effect is grotesque, but that's the point: why should Africans be watching TV westerns? Elsewhere on the earthy "set" of the film there's a young man, also beautiful, who lies dying inside a nearby building with no medical care. There are many children, some playing about, some being breast-fed. A couple marry, and the festivities interrupt the trial. There's a flinty gatekeeper who decides who can come in and who can't. There's a traditional griot who's one of the "witnesses" and who ends the proceedings with a hypnotic chant (not translated, but strangely stirring and stunning). There's another "witness" – a former schoolteacher – so hopelessly demoralized he refuses to utter a word; a sound recordist; a video photographer who says he prefers to take pictures of the dead because they're more real; and many authentic-looking extras, including a variety of dried-up tough young-old (or ageless) stick-men, all of them coming and going.

You get a vivid sense from all this, which is rhythmically inter-cut with the trial itself, of the harmonious seeming chaos of African village life; the color, the beauty and dignity of the people. You get above all a sense that life goes on. There are two white men on the "stage" of the trial, one an advocate for the international organizations (Roland Rappoport) and the other (William Bourdon) eloquently speaking for the African people and for socialism who concludes that the first world should be sentenced "to community service" "forever." Eloquent though he is, a Malian woman lawyer who speaks after him (Aissata Tall Sall) is more touching.

Like An Inconvenient Truth, Bamako's trial presents facts and arguments of enormous present day importance – this time surrounding not global warming and the disintegration of the earth's eco-system, but another set of the planet's major problems: the social imbalances, the domination of the many by the few; poverty and disease, "terrorism" used to excuse world domination, the richest nations' doing harm while seeming to do good; the ravages of globalization, the privatization of natural resources down to land and water, perhaps ultimately to air; the national debts of poor nations collected by the economic organizations of the rich ones, and thereby preventing the poor ones from gaining any ground against the ravages of poverty and underdevelopment. .

This is powerful stuff. Sisako is, in theory, presenting both sides of the story, though it is obviously which side he is on and which side is in the majority on screen. This is polemic. The international organizations obviously aren't overtly setting out to destroy Africa – are they? It is preaching; but it is done in a rich and colorful and dramatically moving way. The film picked up a US distributor during the New York Film Festival. It's not clear whether the way the print was presented was accurate. This seemed to be a projection of a digital copy that lost the surface beauty of the original. The colors of Jacques Besse's photography were beautiful, but dimmed. In French and Bambara (the Malian language).

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