[Marxism] World Bank and IMF on trial in African film

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Sat Feb 10 20:21:36 MST 2007

Full: <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/movies/11denn.html?ref=movies>

The New York Times
February 11, 2007

One Angry African Puts Big Money on Trial


ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands

A RARITY among contemporary filmmakers, Abderrahmane Sissako is doing
his best to uphold the tradition of "J'accuse" and the outraged
polemic. For his latest movie Mr. Sissako, who lives in Paris,
returned to his family courtyard in Bamako, the capital of Mali, and
staged an act of symbolic justice.

"Bamako," which opens Wednesday at Film Forum in Manhattan, is a
courtroom drama that takes place within a mud-walled compound. It
revolves around an unlikely cast of characters: the plaintiffs are the
people of Africa; the defendants, charged with worsening the economic
plight of the continent, are the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund.

"Through art you can invent the impossible." Mr. Sissako, 45, said in
an interview here at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, where
he was the subject of a retrospective. "It's obviously an improbable
scenario: to put on trial these two institutions that nobody can hold
accountable. But that's the point. In this little courtyard we make
the impossible possible."

To staff the tribunal in "Bamako," Mr. Sissako sought out real judges
and lawyers, whom he armed with extensive research material. He also
assembled a cross section of witnesses, from childhood friends to a
former minister of culture, all appearing as themselves. Once the
cameras were rolling, he allowed the improvised arguments to unfold
without interruption. Witness after witness lands blow after blow
against the economic policies of the international financial bodies,
contending that they have contributed to the impoverishment of Africa
and led to cuts in health care and education.

But "Bamako," despite its equation of globalized capitalism and
neocolonialism, is not purely a diatribe. To an almost surreal degree
it emphasizes the drift of daily life. In the very space where the
court is in session, residents come and go, women dye fabric, a
wedding party passes by. "The idea of the trial was born together with
the idea of showing life adjacent to it," Mr. Sissako said. [...]

Full: <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/movies/11denn.html?ref=movies>

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