Improvised yet visually stunning film is a musical and poetic millennium sketch of a poor African village.
His first full-length feature expresses again Sissako’s talent to shape improvised stories with local inhabitants. This time, the Paris-based director returns on the eve of the year 2000 to the Malinese village of Sokolo where his father lives. When he arrives, he explores the surroundings on a bike. The reflection he had in mind about the turbulent relationship between Africa and Europe never becomes bombastic despite the militant texts by the Martinique writer Aimé Césaire. On the contrary, Sissako mainly speaks in images: opulent, powerful images.
In the village, where time seems to have come to a standstill, hardly anything points to the fact that the new millennium is about to start. The great expectations in the western world find a very modest translation here in a few lost radio reports that hardly reach the local population. A telephone call to another area of the same country is hardly technically possible, let alone an open link to the rest of the world. Sissako’s encounter with the young Nana, who is also passing through, forms a dynamic counterpoint. Life on Earth was Sissako’s contribution to the successful project ‘2000, vue par…’, a series of films about the last days of the 20th century. —International Film Festival Rotterdam
Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Kiffa, Mauritania, in 1961 and raised in Mali, his father’s homeland. When he returned to Mauritania in 1980, the emotional and financial difficulties of adjustment made him turn to literature and film. A study grant allowed him to attend the Institute of the University of Moscow. Le Jeu (1990), first presented as a graduation assignment, won the prize for best short at the Giornate del Cinema Africano of Perugia in 1991.
In 1993, Octobre was shown at Locarno and won prizes the world over. His film, Waiting for Happiness, was screened at Cannes 2002 and was winner of the FIPRESCI award for best film in the Un Certain Regard section. It was also shown at the New York Film Festival in 2002 and won the Grand Prize at FESPACO in 2003. His last film, the overtly political Bamako represents a move away from autobiography but the explicit subject of Bamako had been the implicit themes of his other films: the legacy of colonialism and the lopsided relationship… read more
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