“Intimate, urgent and wildly imaginative.”–The Washington Post
Join noted African cinema scholar Dr. Samba Gadjigo, in conversation with CCA’s Cinematheque Director Jason Silverman, as he shows clips and discusses the enduring power of one of the great African works. Released in 2006, Bamako has taken on increased urgency as many African democracies face destabilizing challenges, with the interventions from the international economic forces often accused of making matters worse.
About Bamako: Abderrahmane Sissako’s essential film, an undeniable classic of world cinema, follows an extraordinary trial taking place in a residential courtyard in the capital city of Mali. African citizens are putting international financial institutions—the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—on trial for perpetuating Africa’s debt crisis, which stands at the heart of so many of the continent’s woes. Teachers, farmers, and writers voice scathing indictments against the global economic machinery, as life plays out all around them. A singer and her husband ponder their doubtful future; a gun goes missing; newlyweds pass through and women, at the core of this story, maintain the rhythms of daily life. Profound and deeply moving, Bamako remains one of the best introductions to African cinema, and is shown here in a newly restored version. (Mali, 2006, 117m)
Dr. Samba Gadjigo, a professor of French and Africana Studies at Mt. Holyoke College, is the official biographer of Ousmane Sembene, considered the “father of African cinema.” His film SEMBENE!, created with Jason Silverman, premiered at Sundance and Cannes, played more than 120 festivals globally, was released on Netflix and in more than 150 countries and was named one of New York magazine’s top ten films of 2015. Their project Sembene Across Africa has connected millions of Africans with African cinema. He was the 2016 recipient of Mt. Holyoke’s Faculty Award for Scholarship.
Jason Silverman, the CCA’s Cinematheque Director since 2004, is the co-creator of the internationally acclaimed film SEMBENE!. He is a recipient of five Ford Foundation grants, four Sundance Institute grants, two NEH grants, a Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and a lifetime achievement award from the Santa Fe Film Festival for his education and outreach work. He was a 2020 inductee into the New Mexico Film and TV Hall of Fame.