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Zanga is driven away from his village on the Niger River as a boy because he was born out of wedlock. After living in the city for a long time and studying there, he returns to his village, now an adult. His return triggers a series of conflicts.

Salif Traoré's protagonist, embodiment of the modern world, encounters a closed Malinese village community on the Niger River, deeply steeped in African traditions, superstition, and the belief in the spiritual power of the river. "La reine des eaux", the spirit of the river, supposedly turns against the returned intruder. The hierarchical mechanism of a male dominated, misogynist and child-hating society comes to light, which the women in the community eventually rebel against. The closeness of the village community and the role that the individual members play in it are wonderfully presented here in an almost theatrical manner. Traoré's film is a timeless fable that calls current power relations into question and presents the necessity of mutual respect.

Gabriela Seidel

Production: PAV Communication, Paris; Boreal Films, Montréal; Sarama Films, Bamako; D.C.N., Ouagadougou; Bärbel Mauch Films, Berlin; Canal Plus Horizon, Paris

Screenplay: Salif Traoré, Olivier Lorelle

Cinematographer: Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Editor: Laure Budin

Cast: Sotigui Kouyaté, Fili Traoré, Michel Mpambara, Hélène M. Diarra, Djénéba Koné

Format: 35mm (shot on HDCam 24p), Color

Running time: 96 minutes

Language: Bambara

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur