A landmark in African cinema, Souleymane Cissé’s film is set in the Malian empire of the 13th century and depicts the quest of a young son across the West African landscape to confront his father, a tyrannical magician. Although the film’s mythic narrative and arresting visual style lend it universal appeal, Yeelen’s use of Bambara, Fulani, and Dogon languages and its representation of power struggles across generations have been interpreted as a commentary on Malian politics of the postcolonial era.
Director: Souleymane Cissé.
Writer: Souleymane Cissé.
Stars: Issiaka Kane, Aoua Sangare, Niamanto Sanogo, Balla Moussa Keita, Soumba Traore, Ismaila Sarr, Youssouf Tenin Cissé, Koke Sangare, Sidi Diallo.
1987 Cannes Film Festival – Winner of the Jury Prize.
1987 Cannes Film Festival – Nominated for the Palme d’Or.
This film is almost a miracle. The actors are unbelievable — some scenes you wonder if you’re not watching a documentary. A real beauty of a film!