Set in the powerful Mali Empire of the 13th century, Yeelen follows the journey of Nianankoro, a young warrior who must battle the powerful Komo cult. Nianankoro’s greatest enemy is his own father, a dangerous and corrupt wizard who uses his dark magic to try and destroy his son.
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Stunning shots, beautiful people, including the mother and her son and his still-faced wife. Great acting by the menacing father. I kept feeling harbingers of the slave trade in the curse on these people, and the little boy tromping off over the hill to face who knows what.
Black Panther is great and important but so American. This is a true African superhero movie: minimalist, earnest, with zero swag, but a lot of heart. And that's not all: it's also a great study of power dynamics, tribalism and sacrifice, as well as a heart-wrenching family story. And the bodies in nature: splendid.
We need to see many more films like this here, films that have other ways of telling. The world is brimming with art and you feed us 10% women directors and 30-40% French male “auteurs” . . . Shame. Time is up.
A seminal film from African Cinema, this luminous trajectory of mystical good and evil across African tribes neither idealizes nor condemns. Rather, its main virtues lie in the universality of the idea that natural forces reflect social classifications, epecially if the latter lie deep into Manichaeism. Safe conclusions for the Western eye cannot be secured, but this does not block the bright rays of this gem.