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An Evening with Abderrahmane Sissako

Special Event Tickets $10
Monday April 20 at 7pm


Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, Appearing in Person
With Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Maimouna Hélène Diarra
Mali 2006, 35mm, color, 115 min. French and Bambara with English subtitles
Print from New Yorker Films

Abderrahmane Sissako last visited the Harvard Film Archive in 1999, as that year’s recipient of the Genevieve McMillan and Reba Stewart Fellowship for Distinguished Filmmaking. In the past decade, he has continued making films that meditate on Africa’s position in a globalized world. Returning to Cambridge as a guest of MIT, Sissako will appear at the HFA with a screening of his latest feature. Bamako marks a departure from Sissako’s recent work, turning away from the film-essay of Life on Earth (1998) and the observational style of Waiting for Happiness (2002) to instead fuse modernist aesthetics with populist elements from any number of genres. The film’s Brechtian centerpiece is a trial, held in the Malian capital of Bamako, whose defendant is Western capitalism itself, facing charges that it has forcibly kept a decolonized Africa impoverished and oppressed. Alternating between the monologues that make up the testimony and a series of episodes from the daily life that continues around the trial – and sometimes interrupts (or even undermines) the proceedings – Sissako continues to explore the intertwining of public and private, global and local, modern and traditional so central to his earlier films, although now with a broader palate of tones than before, ranging from the farcical to the ironic and from the satirical to the quietly tragic.

Special thanks to Michèle Oshima, MIT Office of the Arts.

 Listen to this evening's introduction, discussion and Q&A.

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