A mock trial in Mali of the World Bank and the IMF is at the core of this committed film. Lawyers, activists and ordinary people play the characters, with interspersed episodes from “ordinary life” that bear upon the trial’s arguments. There’s even a western (!) within the film, featuring co-producer Danny Glover. “This sophisticated picture about a desperate situation expresses its optimism through its style and its respect for the people who appear in it” (Philip French, The Observer). (115 mins)
Dir: Abderrahmane Sissako, Mali, USA, France 2006
We have invited June Givanni, film critic and leading expert on African cinema, to introduce this film and if she can come, she will. Please note this event will start at 7.30 p.m.


“This is why I joined the Society: a fascinating film that I would otherwise never have seen. Both the introduction and the discussion (after the film) were brilliant.”

“Very much the sort of film ABCD should show.”

“A highly original and impassioned presentation of a serious subject. The Western was presumably an allegory for the West’s exploitation of Africa.”

“A shocking indictment of man’s inhumanity to man. A wonderful film, however but one of terrible sadness.”

“Amazing, cru[s]hing but at times uplifting. Stunning photography, marvellous characterisation. It left me asking what can we do and feeling, in fact, totally helpless. Sub-titles for the songs would have been helpful but this was discussed after the film.”

“A bold challenge on a very important subject, with some memorable scenes. Some of the arguments went on too long – it didn’t help that my French wasn’t good enough, so I had to read the English translation [sub-titles]. And who was the corpse at the end?”

“An interesting, vibrant film giving voice to opinions not heard loudly enough. Excellent introduction.”

“A very interesting and thought-provoking film – some parallels with Waiting for Happiness.”

“Different, unexpected (and) refreshing with so many interesting facts.”

“Impressive conception, superb acting and observation.”

“Informative (and) moving – held my attention completely.”

“Thought provoking, I’m looking forward to seeing it again.”

“So much in this film – must try to se it again.”

“A very moving film, such colour(s contrasting) with the bleak outlook.”

“Very interesting and memorable but I wondered if the attack on the World Bank was flogging a dead horse! I loved the people and (their) ordinary lives but the trial was too preachy.”

“Splendid politics – not so great a film.”

“Sorry, didn’t do it all for me.”

“Is Bamako on the (George) Bush/ (Gordon) Brown home movies list? ”


A:23, B:12, C:2, D:3, E:0 to give 84%