Yeelen

“Yeelen”, a Malian movie, directed by Souleymanne Cisse and starring Issiaka Kane, Aoua Sangare among others.

Its a magical realism kinda movie, with both father and son pitted against each other. Father Soma is using the magical powers given to him for his selfish gains whereas son Nianankaro (Issiaka Kane) is fighting a losing battle but his mother gives him some relishes to protect him and prays fervently to protect her son.

While travelling to find his father, Nianankaro is caught by one village and about to be beheaded but he uses his magical powers, which impresses the king of the village. The king asks him to defend the village against the neighboring kingdom which he does with panache so the king asks him one last favor which is make his last wife Attou (Aoua Sangare) unbarren.

In the process he has sex with the girl and they confess to the king, but the king lets them go as man and wife. Nianankaro then travels long distance to find his uncle who is the twin brother of his father. Then he meets his father and the great fight takes place.

Very beautifully crafted story, great camera work and cinematography. Cisse has dwelt a lot of detail on the little known tribal customs and practices which gives the movie an authentic feel. It got a Cannes Jury prize in 1987.

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