YEELEN –Brightness – La lumière – Das Licht

A film directed by Souleymane Cissé
Starring: Balla Moussa Keita, Issiaka Kane, Soumba Traoure

Mali 1987

Yeelen est un film du rélisateur malien Souleymane Cissé sorti en 1987.

Le film retrace un parcours initiatique à une époque non définie. Un jeune homme va recevoir le savoir destiné à lui assurer la maîtrise des forces qui l’entourent, cette connaissance que les bambaras se transmettent depuis toujours. Le père ne supporte pas de voir son fils devenir son égal …

In 1987 Yeelen was a revelation for me what African light and light in general may represent – in my eyes the film developed aesthetically distinctive African characteristics I hadn’t met before. Though I’ve seen the film about 20 years ago its pictures are still impressed into my retina and I’m visualizing with pleasure those scenes full of brightness…

It is filmed entirely in the Bambara language and is based on a legend told by the Bambara people (a Mande people living in West Africa, primarily in Mali). The Oedipal story is a heroic quest narrative featuring magic and precognition.

Being visually exceptionally stunning Yeelen was met with wide critical success, and was awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987. It was also nominated for the Golden Palm award for the same year.

“Conceivably the greatest African film ever made…should make George Lucas green with envy…not to be missed” The Chicago Reader

Thanks to Nicholas V. for hosting the Movie Monday!