Cornelius Moore is director of the Library of African Cinema, California Newsreel's African film distribution project.

Kounandi, “one who brings luck,” is the name given to an infant whose arrival in a village is as fortuitous as her parting, years later, is mysterious. If Kounandi is a fairy tale, it is one for adults, a down-to-dirt portrait of relationships in a tribal setting. Kounandi the orphan is a dwarf and, belying her name, is shunned, abused, and orphaned again. This resilient character (wonderfully portrayed by Deborah Coty) overcomes prejudice with pluck and magic love, handed down from one woman to another. An impressive debut from young Burkinabe director Apolline Traoré (it was produced by the well-known director Idrissa Ouedraogo), this small film renders itself large with wondrous cinematography, wry humor, and slyly affecting heart.

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