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Bamako

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An extraordinary trial is taking place in a residential courtyard in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. African citizens have taken proceedings against such international financial institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whom civil society blames for perpetuating Africa's debt crisis, at the heart of so many of the continent's woes. As numerous trial witnesses (schoolteachers, farmers, writers, etc.) air bracing indictments against the global economic machinery that haunts them, life in the courtyard presses forward. Melé, a lounge singer, and her unemployed husband Chaka are on the verge of breaking up; a security guard's gun goes missing; a young man lies ill; a wedding procession passes through; and women keep everything rolling - dyeing fabric, minding children, spinning cotton, and speaking their minds.

Written and directed by the celebrated filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Waiting for Happiness) and co-executive produced by Danny Glover (who also provides a cameo in the film), this critically acclaimed political drama - filled with a lush mix of warm colors and impassioned music - offers a unique opportunity for audiences to become familiar with contemporary Africa. Sissako, who grew up in the courtyard that the film is set in, hired professional lawyers and judges along with "witnesses" to express their true feelings. Bamako voices Africa's grievances in an original and profoundly moving way.

Director Ken Russell declared Bamako to be a "revolutionary lesson in contemporary film-making." The Observer's Philip French listed Bamako among his top 50 films of the past 5 decades. Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com, who named the film as his number one film of 2007, deemed the film a "fearless high-wire act, grim and witty, confrontational and self-mocking." A.O. Scott of The New York Times stated that he's "never seen a film quite like 'Bamako'... a work of cool intelligence and profound anger... necessary viewing."

Special Features:
- Interviews with: director Abderrahmane Sissako, executive producer / actor Danny Glover, Yao Graham (Third World Network Africa) and Gita Sen (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era)
- Harry Belafonte: clip from NY Film Festival panel
- Theatrical trailer
- Dolby Digital 5.1
- Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
- Optional English subtitles
- Scene Selections
- Essays by Aminata Traoré and Mahmood Mamdani

Review

A film that needs to be seen, argued over and seen again. A disarmingly beautiful...fierce and unforgettable piece of political art... that is also a haunting visual poem. --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

One of the most original cinematic achievements of the decade... It will leave your brain buzzing. --Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

A passionate challenging drama. Grade: A --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tiecoura Traore, Maimouna Helene Diarra Aissa Maiga
  • Directors: Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011VIOAA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,229 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bamako" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In a small courtyard of a house shared by several families (in Bamako, capital of Mali) a trial court has been set up where African spokesmen are taking proceedings against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This fictional setup allows the filmmaker to present a myriad of voices, addressing the human impact of the policies of these international organizations. Meanwhile, life goes on in the courtyard. Individuals who live there carry on with their efforts to make a living, most notably a talented woman who has to leave the home to sing in a nightclub in another city so that she can support her family and a husband who has lost his job and his dignity.

The film, in effect, aims to put global capitalism itself on trial and we, the audience, get to stand in as the jury. On the one hand, these organizations allow for the development of the nations they invest in: the creation of hospitals, roads, utilities, and the like. On the other hand, these development come with a steep price tag: conditions for such development include privatization of utilities, the selling off of local resources to the highest bidder, and the establishment of steep loans that have put several African countries in deep debt from which there is little possibility of emergence -- which means that their revenues must be put towards loans rather than education and even upkeep of the developments for which they paid so much.
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Format: DVD
I agree with other reviewers who had a positive response to the political aspect of this amazing film, but also, as a visual artist, I have to add that "Bamako" is VISUALLY the most beautifully framed film I have ever seen- in more than 50 years.
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I waited for two years to order and then see this dvd. The wait was well worth it because it is such a primer to the subject that you hear about so much vis a vie Africa. Watching this mock trial on Globalization and its local impact is a lesson that we need to learn. I recommend this dvd to schools and teachers everywhere who are trying to get kids to understand the impact on the world of the World Bank, the IMF and all the other problems that we as Westerners have imposed on the Third World. This is a fascinating look at this problem and it is very well done. I Highly recommend this film.
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By J. Williams on December 23, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was entertaining and informative. It was a peek at another culture. Anyone who is interested in the role being played by the world bank in third world countries should see Bamako and Life + debt.
The movie is not readily available at a standard price and may be out of print.
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Format: DVD
I happened to spy this dvd in the smallish international films section of my local library. I'm so glad I did. Wow!! The director has reeeaaally taken a tiger of a subject by the tail. By the end, I honestly felt I wanted to do something-- open the window and scream or toss the cat across the room! Deciding against those 2, I'm writing this review instead.

Essentially, this film serves to answer (in consummate eloquence I might add) the billion dollar question: Why are all the native Black Africans (anyway), poor, dejected and seemingly in constant need of aid? The defendants in this landmark trial witnessed by the dispossessed of Africa: Principally, the IMF and World Bank.

As a Muslim, this film answers another glaring question, one I've periodically discussed with others. Why do the "powers that be" promote hatred against Islam? Is it because Muslims pray 5 times a day and wear long clothes to cover their bodies? No. It's because Islam forbids earning interest (or riba) on money!!! And, the prevailing world rulers, therefore, who earn buckets of money from interest do not want Islam to threaten their financial interests. In this film the words humane and inhumane are used quite often. Well, the epitome of inhumanity to man is INTEREST. It impoverishes individuals and nations.

This project really hits home with me particularly because I've seen South Africa (including Soweto) and Egypt and in both places it is the native Black African who suffers-- perennially. Even while making Hajj in Arabia-- I saw countless Africans missing their limbs, begging.
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Bamako (with English subtitles) makes you think of the grand scheme of life at the same time as you're taken up with its daily details. There are so many themes within this one movie that it's hard to absorb them all in a single viewing: A couple whose marriage is breaking up, even as they love each other and their young daughter. Daily life in a compound in Bamako, Mali. The beauty of little things like reflections in a puddle. The interplay of traditional and modern cultures. And the main point of the movie, a mock trial of World Bank debts and their effect on African states and people. With chuckles, tears, indignation and empathy, you come to the end of the movie wanting to start at the beginning again to see what you might have missed. Beautiful, moving, artistic and complex, it may be a little hard to understand for anyone totally unfamiliar with West African life. Bamako
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