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Bamako (film)

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Directed byAbderrahmane Sissako
Produced byArchipel 33
Arte France Cinéma
Chinguitty Films
Louverture Films
Mali Images
New Yorker Films
Distributed byArtificial Eye / New Yorker Films
Release dates
  • 21 May 2006 (2006-05-21) (Cannes)
  • 18 October 2006 (2006-10-18) (France)
  • 14 February 2007 (2007-02-14) (United States)
Running time
115 minutes
United States
Budget$2 million
Box office$1.6 million[1]

Bamako is a 2006 film directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, first released at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May[2] and in Manhattan by New Yorker Films on 14 February 2007.

The film depicts a trial taking place in Bamako, the capital of Mali, amid the daily life that is going on in the city. In the midst of that trial, two sides argue whether the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are guided by special interest of developed nations, or whether it is corruption and the individual nations' mismanagement, that is guilty of the current financial state of many poverty-stricken African countries as well as the rest of the poor undeveloped world.[3][4] The film even touches on European colonization and discusses how it plays a role in shaping African societies and their resulting poverty and issues.

Danny Glover, one of the film's executive producers, also guest-stars as an actor in a Western film (called Death in Timbuktu) that some children are watching on the television in one scene.[5]

Lawyers William Bourdon and Aïssata Tall Sall portrayed themselves in the film.[6]


Actress Aïssa Maïga was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress in 2007.

Bamako was the recipient of the first Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE) given at the Istanbul International Film Festival in April 2007.[7]

Bamako won the award for Best French-Language Film/Meilleur Film Francophone at the Prix Lumière.

Bamako was also the winner of the Audience Award at the Paris Cinema in 2006.

Salon critic Andrew O'Hehir selected the film when asked to present one film within the Maryland Film Festival in 2008.


The film received a Metacritic score of 81 out of 100, and has a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 54 reviews with the following consensus: "A courtroom drama and a portrait of everyday Mali life, Bamako approaches both subjects with equal skill and success."[8] The film received much praise for its direction by Sissako.

Entertainment Weekly gave Bamako an A, calling it "a passionate, challenging drama from the fine Mauritanian writer-director Abderrahmane Sissako" and that it brings "moments of brimming, illogical, intimate neighborly dailiness the filmmaker also captures with warmth and infectious high spirits".[9]

A. O. Scott from The New York Times said that "he has never seen a film quite like Bamako", and praised the director's vision as a "seething, complicated and a disarmingly beautiful investigation of Africa's social, economic and human crises" and goes on to describe the film as "something different, a work of cool intelligence and profound anger, a long, dense, argument that is also a haunting visual poem".[10]

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune in his review gave the film three and a half out of four, saying "Sissako has an unusual camera eye, patient and alert to the ebb and flow of both the courtroom sequences and the outside scenes. The music is wonderful as well."[11]

Wesley Morris from the Boston Globe in an overwhelmingly positive review said "As demonstrated in his previous film, a plangent snapshot of subsistence called "Waiting for Happiness," Sissako is a poet, and the filmmaking in this new picture is stuff of a deserving laureate."[12]

The Empire review gave the film four out of five and said that it is "Far from an easy watch, either in terms of its hard-hitting content, seemingly haphazard structuring or its dense symbolism. But this makes sense of the political intricacies by balancing the rhetoric and statistics with everyday occurrences that give the iniquities and inadequacies a human face."[13]

The review in The Washington Post said "No one can deny the powerful reality that weaves its way through Bamako."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bamako (2006) - JPBox-Office".
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Bamako". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  3. ^ BILL MEYER (17 November 2006). "Bamako: An African indictment of the World Bank". People's World.org. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  4. ^ Dave Calhoun (16 October 2006). "Bamako (PG)". TimeOutLondon. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  5. ^ DemocracyNow (16 February 2007). "Bamako: Danny Glover Produces and Stars in New Film Putting the World Bank and IMF on Trial in Africa". DemocracyNow. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  6. ^ Ba, Mehdi (15 June 2015). "Sénégal : Aïssata Tall Sall, objectif présidentielle" (in French). Jeune Afrique. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  7. ^ ""Bamako", winner of the first Council of Europe film award in Istanbul". Council of Europe. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
  8. ^ "Bamako (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  9. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa. "Bamako Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  10. ^ Scott, A.O. (14 February 2007). "World Bank in the Docket, Charged With Africa's Woes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  11. ^ Phillips, Michael (9 March 2007). "IMF trial lets 'Bamako' court outside issues". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  12. ^ Morris, Wesley. "Africans challenge global corruption in 'Bamako' courtroom". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  13. ^ Parkinson, David. "Domestic strife and political polemic in this African drama". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  14. ^ Hornaday, Ann. "Out of Africa: 'Bamako,' a Fanciful Tale With a Moral Ending". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 March 2014.

External links[edit]