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Filmography - African Feature Films

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018

African Feature Films - Mali

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library catalog (



Bamako. 2006, 1 videodisc (117 min.).  Set against the backdrop of overwhelming economic strife, a couple fights to save their relationship. While they are struggling to keep the peace in their marriage, their neighbors are holding a mock trial in the town courtyard to hold the IMF and the World Bank accountable for creating such hardship in Africa. MALI.  DVD 4195

Burning in the sun. 2009, 1 videodisc (83 min.).  "26-year-old Daniel Dembélé is equal parts West African and European, and looking to make his mark on the world. Seizing the moment at a crossroads in his life, Daniel decides to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels, the first of its kind in the sun drenched nation. Daniel's goal is to electrify the households of rural communities, 99% of which live without power. [The film] tells the story of Daniel's journey growing the budding idea into a viable company, and of the business' impace on Daniel's first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Addressing climate change, poverty, and self-sufficiency, the film demonstrates how a small-scale, local business model can improve jobs, appropriate products, and empower poor people everywhere." -- Container. MALI. DVD 9248 and Streaming video.

Faraw!: une mere des sables = Mother of the dunes. 1997, 1 videodisc (90 min.).  This feature retraces twenty-four hours in the life of a Songhaèi woman, Zamiatou, mother of three with a mentally and physically destroyed husband and no steady income, who is the poorest woman in an impoverished desert village in Mali, but she is determined to have her family survive without prostituting her beautiful daughter, her struggle symbolizing the plight of all African women trapped in a cycle of extreme poverty. MALI.  DVD 2328 and Streaming video.

Finzan. 1989, 1 video file (109 min.).  Tells the story of two women's rebellion. Nanyuma, a young widow, refuses her brother-in-law, the village fool, when he asserts his traditional right to "inherit" her. Fili, a young girl sent from the city by her conservative father, is brutally circumcised by the village women who are scandalized that she resists the age-old custom. MALI. Streaming video.

Guimba un tyran, une âepoque = A tyrant in his time. 1995, 1 video file (93 min.).  A tyrant throws his city into conflict and chaos when he allows his randy, dwarf son to reject an arranged marriage to the slim local beauty in order for him to pursue the girl's larger, married mother. The tyrant then sets his own eyes on the girl, making the situation even worse. An epic set in the legendary past of Mali (West Africa) to provide a biting allegory of present-day African politics. Through the story of the downfall of Guimba the tyrant, the filmmaker foretells a similar fate for the many dictators who still pillage the continent. He frames his film with the appearance of a griot, a traditional African storyteller who passes down the "wisdom of the ancestors", looking to the values and legends of the African past for inspiration and guidance in reconstructing well-governed, self-sufficient nations. MALI. Streaming video.

La genèse = Genesis. 1999, 1 videodisc (102 min.).  Based on chapters 33-37 of Genesis told from an African perspective, the film portrays the bitter rivalry between the brothers Jacob and Esau. FRANCE / MALI.  DVD 10673

La vie sur terre = Life on Earth. 1998, 1 videodisc (61 min.).  Library of African cinema. On the eve of the year 2000, Abderrahmane Sissako, a Mauritanian filmmaker living in France, goes home to visit his father in a small village in Mali. At the post office, he encounters a young woman. A relationship develops, while on the streets of the village, daily life goes on peacefully and unchanged as a new millennium arrives. MALI / MAURITANIA / FRANCE. DVD 8169 and Streaming video.

Mali blues. 2016, 1 streaming video file (94 min.). Four dynamic Malian musicians use their music to stand up to religious extremism. GERMANY / MALI. Streaming video.

Ta Dona. 1991, 1 video file (101 min.).  Library of African cinema. Tells the story of the quest for secret knowledge by a young Bambara man. While working in a peasant village, the hero, Sidy, searches for the seventh "canari", a forgotten, secret Bambara herbal remedy used in childbirth. Faced with a scorching drought and a corrupt government, Sidy manages to save the village and rediscover the seventh "canari".  MALI. Streaming video.

Taafe fanga = Skirt power. 1997, 1 video file (95 min.).  Library of African cinema . A griot in present day Mali tells a story about women in an 18th century Dogon village. Fed up with male arrogance, one captures a powerful Albarga mask and terrorizes the men into assuming traditional women's roles. The humorous results convince everyone that women should be respected as complementary, yet equal, to men if society as a whole is to advance. MALI / FRANCE. Streaming video.

Timbuktu. 2014. 1 videodisc (97 min.).  A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives, which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith, abruptly disturbed when they are forced to follow the new laws of their foreign occupants. MAURITANIA. MALI. DVD 12426. 

Yeelen = Brightness. 1987. 1 videodisc (105 min.).  A film adaptation of one of the great oral epics of the Bambara people, set during the powerful Mali Empire of the 13th century. Tells the story of Nianankoro, a young Bambara warrior destined to destroy a corrupt older society, the secret Komo cult, and with it his father, and, inevitably, himself. The climactic flash of light which floods the screen at the film's end ushers in a new purified world order and captures the Bambara belief in time as circular, not linear, always returning to that initial "brightness" which created the world. MALI. DVD 728 and Streaming video.