GREAT AFRICAN FILMS, VOLUME 2: Tasuma / Sia, the Dream of the Python - The second installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes Kollo Sanou's Tasuma, the Fighter (2003, 90 minutes, French and Jula with English subtitles), a comic look at the impact of French colonialism on Africa; Retired from the French army, Burkinabe soldier Sogo Sanou waits patiently for his pension, which he plans to use to build a grain mill for the women of his village - Next is Dani Kouyate's Sia, the Dream of the Python (2001, 96 minutes, Bambara with English subtitles), a modern adaptation of a seventh-century African legend: A poor village decides it must make a human sacrifice to a mystical snake god to guarantee a better future; Sia, the most beautiful woman in the village, is chosen for the ritual, but she runs away in revolt - 186 minutes.
TASUMA, THE FIGHTER
Sogo Sanou, a.k.a. Tasuma, is a former French soldier, a part of the African troops better known as “tiralleurs senegalais” who fought in the French wars in Europe and its colonial territories. He was a soldier in the wars of Indochina and Algeria. Although an honored veteran, Tasuma spends decades painfully waiting for his small pension, an amount that in his native Burkina Faso represents a fortune, even though it will equal only a small fraction of the amount paid to his French counterparts.
In a scene that takes us back to another African classic, The Money Order by Ousmane Sembene, Tasuma impulsively buys a treadmill for the women in his village with the money represented by his future pension payment, although he doesn’t know exactly when it will come through.
The money does not arrive, and our hero is in trouble and out of patience. With his old rifle he walks into the pension plan administrator’s office and demands his money. He ends up in jail, and it is up to the women from the village to come down to the city to free Tasuma. Tasuma the Fighter, is a portrait of a bureaucratic adventure that, even 60 years after World War II and 44 years after the independence movement in Africa, is not yet resolved.
As Kollo Daniel Sanou, the director of Tasuma, points out: “The story of Tasuma is also the narration of a historic mismatch, that of the particular status of those former combatants of the African troupes in the French Army.”
|Burkina Faso|2003| 90min | comedy in French/Moore with English subtitles | Daniel Kollo Sanou, Dir. |
Winner Bronze Yennenga Stallion, FESPACO 2005
"Tasuma camouflages its razor-sharp indignation with warmth and disarming grace" ~ VILLAGE VOICE
SIA: THE DREAM OF THE PYTHON
Kombi is a poverty-stricken city dominated by a tyrant king. In order to bring back prosperity, the king is advised by his priests to make the traditional human sacrifice of a young virgin to a mystical snake god. Sia, the most beautiful young woman of the village, has been designated. Lieutenant Mamadi, her fiancé, rebels against the decision to perform this ritual, and the village becomes divided. Struggles and revelations follow as the characters confront issues of honor, corruption and power.
| Burkina Faso/France |2001 | 96min |Epic Drama in Bambara with English subtitles |Dani Kouyaté, Dir. |
Winner “Special Prize of the Jury” FESPACO 2001 - Official Selection Cannes 2001.
“A delightful, pointed fable of religious and political extremism that's extra-relevant at present” ~ Dennis Harvey - VARIETY
"Delivers a powerful commentary on how governments lie, no matter who runs them" NEW YORK POST