Bamako Review

Image for Bamako

A trial is set up in a makeshift court within the courtyard of some Malian residences against the IMF and World Bank and its alleged exploitation of Africa. Meanwhile life continues around it, with Mele, a local singer having serious misgivings about life with her unemployed husband...


Abderrahmane Sissako makes no pretence at neutrality with this indictment of globalised capitalism. Indeed, while he has an advocate eloquently decry conspiracy theories about the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s masterminding of the exploitation of Africa, Sissako undermines his arguments by depicting him as a ludicrous figure outside the temporary courtroom set up in the yard of an everyday Malian dwelling.

Yet this isn’t just a political polemic. Life goes on around the proceedings, as singer Aïssa Maïga drifts apart from her unemployed husband, and neighbours crowd in to watch a pastiche TV Western starring Danny Glover.

Far from an easy watch, either in terms of its hard-hitting content, seemingly haphazard structuring or its dense symbolism. But this makes sense of the political intricacies by balancing the rhetoric and statistics with everyday occurrences that give the