Streaming: Bamako

A courtroom drama with a difference . . . a light touch, a dry wit, and vast sympathy. 

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Miamouna Hélène Diarra, Habib Dembélé,

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A court is in session in a small village in Africa, complete with bewigged judges and serious bailiffs high-stepping over goats and squealing kids, but it’s no ordinary defendant and plaintiff in this well-spun allegory. Here African society is the accuser, and the accused are none other than the World Bank and other international institutions, put on trial for countless crimes and exploitation in the world they’re funding, or plundering. Prosecutors and witnesses (played by well-known artists and intellectuals) offer devastating critiques of the true effects of development packages and the “global economy,” while defense attorneys adjust their wigs and shift the blame. Meanwhile, between the rhetorical speeches and hot air, life goes on in the courtyard, as Sissako cleverly jams up his staged, Brechtian allegory with the constant buzz of African reality. “Rather miraculously,” Deborah Young wrote in Variety, “Bamako succeeds in painlessly educating its viewers about global politics and economics while it describes contemporary Africa with freshness and clarity.”

Jason Sanders
  • Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Jacques Besse
  • French
  • Bambara
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital streaming
  • 117 mins
  • Icarus Films