Yeelen

Directed by Souleymane Cissé

Release Year: 1987
Running Time: 105
Color Type: Color
Country: Africa (region), Mali
Language: Bambara w/ English subtitles [audio]
Genres: World Cinema
Subjects: African Studies
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Screening Info
Cast
Balla Moussa Keita
Issiaka Kane
Soumba Traoure

Crew
Directed by Souleymane Cissé

This adaptation of an ancient oral legend from Mali, is one the most acclaimed and widely seen African films ever made. An Oedipal story mixed with magic, Yeelen is as visually stunning as anything from Hollywood.

Set in the powerful Mali Empire of the 13th century, Yeelen follows the journey of Nianankoro, a young warrior who must battle the powerful Komo cult. Nianankoro's greatest enemy is his own father, a dangerous and corrupt wizard who uses his dark magic to try and destroy his son. Traveling over the arid Bambara, Fulani and Dogan lands of ancient West Africa, Nianankoro eventually comes face to face with his father in a final fatal showdown. Cissé's extraordinary use of landscapes and light produces a unique and striking cinematic style.

Educational Reviews

"A challenging and gorgeously filmed epic based on the oral traditions and myths of the Bambara people of Mali." ***1/2 Recommended Video Librarian

Critical Acclaim

"Ravishingly beautiful...One of the great experiences of world cinema" -- Shelia Benson, The Los Angeles Times

"Conceivably the greatest African film ever made...should make George Lucas green with envy...not to be missed" -- Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader