Synopsis

Synopsis


Over the course of a few days, a trial pitting African civil society against such international financial institutions as the World Bank and the IMF has set its stage inside the domestic courtyard of a home in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. Judges have been appointed, witnesses have been summoned and lawyers from both sides have arrived armed with passionate, scathing, and uncompromising accusations. Is the World Bank guilty of not following its mandate to serve mankind -of crimes of inhumanity and cynicism- or is Africa to blame for her suffering? The trial's examination of Africa's debt to the World Bank, which threatens Africa's sovereignty and continues to alienate and deprave her people, provides a surreal contrast to the everyday life shared by the families whose homes encase the courtyard. As numerous trial witnesses (schoolteachers, farmers, writers, etc.) air bracing indictments against the multinational economic machinery that haunts them, life in the courtyard presses forward.

Framed against the urgency of the trial, the case of a stolen gun leads a local detective to Chaka, an unemployed married father who lives in a home within the courtyard with his sexy wife Melé, a popular Bamako lounge singer. Although Chaka refutes the detective's suspicions, the lurking investigator isn't convinced Chaka's innocent and soon becomes a fixture at the trial, hoping that he'll eventually uncover a break in the case. Unfazed by the detective's persistence or the very public political proceedings being held in his yard, Chaka bides his time preoccupied with his impending break-up with Melé and his pressing need to find work. In the midst of the powerful testimonials and pleas being made at the trial, the juxtaposition of Chaka and Mele's story (as well as those of their courtyard neighbors, including a bedridden young man without healthcare, newlyweds celebrating their marriage, a crime scene photographer turned funeral videographer and a woman in charge of a nearby fabric dyers workshop) give a voice to Africa's silent majority and further fortifies Africa's case against the World Bank.

Written and directed by the celebrated filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Waiting for Happiness) and co-executive produced by Danny Glover (who also provides a hilarious cameo in the film), this critically acclaimed political drama offers a unique opportunity for worldwide audiences to become familiar with contemporary Africa. Sissako, who grew up in the courtyard that the film is set in, hired professional lawyers, judges and "witnesses" to voice their true feelings within the framework of the trial's proceedings, while using actors to fill out the fictional scenarios. Filled with a lush mix of warm colors and inspirational music, Bamako voices Africa's grievances in an original and profoundly moving way: educating, and at the same time, entertaining the audience.

Mali/France/USA, 2006
118 min., Unrated
In French & Bambara with English subtitles
Color


FILMMAKERS

Written and Directed by
Producers

Dir. of Photography
Editor
Sound Engineer
Production Designer
1st Assistant Dir.
Camera Operators (trial)


Sound Editor
Sound Mixer
Costumes
Make Up Artist
Line Producer (Mali)
Production Manager
Production Manager (Mali)
Location Manager
Executive Producers
ABDERRAHMANE SISSAKO
DENIS FREYD
ABDERRAHMANE SISSAKO
JACQUES BESSE
NADIA BEN RACHID
DANA FARZANEHPOUR
MAHAMADOU KOUYATÉ
PHILIPPE TOURRET
THOMAS NIKÉMA
MAKHÈTE DIALLO
ABDOURAHMANE SOMÉ
CHRISTOPHE WINDING
BRUNO TARRIÈRE
MAJI-DA ABDI
BATOMA KOUYATÉ
MAJI-DA ABDI
THOMAS ALFANDARI
MOCTAR BÂ
DRAMANE TRAORÉ
DANNY GLOVER
JOSLYN BARNES
"BAMAKO" is an ARCHIPEL 33, CHINGUITTY FILMS, MALI IMAGES ARTE FRANCE DIRECTION DE LA FICTION, FRANÇOIS SAUVAGNARGUES, CHARGÉ DE PROGRAMME, ARNAUD LOUVET production in association with LOUVERTURE FILMS and with the participation of CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA CINÉMATOGRAPHIE, FONDS SUD CINÉMA, MINISTÈRE DE LA CULTURE ET DE LA COMMUNICATION - CNC, MINISTÈRE FRANÇAIS DES AFFAIRES ETRANGÈRES and with support from ORGANISATION INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE, FONDS IMAGES AFRIQUE MINISTÈRE FRANÇAIS DES AFFAIRES ETRANGÈRES, PROCIREP - SOCIÉTÉ DES PRODUCTEURS, ANGOA-AGICOA, FONDS D'AIDE AU DÉVELOPPEMENT DU SCÉNARIO, FESTIVAL D'AMIENS

CAST


Melé
Chaka
Saramba
Falai
Chaka's sister
Journalist
Presiding Judge
Plaintiffs Counsel

Defense Counsel


Public Prosecutor Witnesses (in order of appearance)





Special appearances as the cowboys

AÏSSA MAÏGA
TIÉCOURA TRAORÉ
HÉLÈNE DIARRA
HABIB DEMBÉLÉ
DJÉNÉBA KONÉ
HAMADOUN KASSOGUÉ
HAMÈYE MAHALMADANE
AÏSSATA TALL SALL
WILLIAM BOURDON
ROLAND RAPPAPORT
MAMADOU KONATÉ
MAMADOU SAVADOGO
MAGMA GABRIEL KONATÉ
ZEGUÉ BAMBA A
MINATA TRAORÉ
MADOU KEITA
GEORGES KEITA
ASSA BADIALLO SOUKO
SAMBA DIAKITÉ
DANNY GLOVER
ELIA SULEIMAN
DRAMANE BASSARO
JEAN-HENRI ROGER
ZEKA LAPLAINE
FERDINAND BATSIMBA