by Olivier Tchouaffe — University of Texas at Austin
April 07, 2008 – 09:00
In a courtyard of a neighborhood of Bamako (Mali), The IMF and the World Bank are put being put on trial for its grand extortion and theft of Africa’s resources. In Bamako’s narrative strategy, there is none of Hollywood “you cannot handle the truth!” trick. Bamako is neither a representation nor a spectacle of the law. As a soothing contrast from the trial, life goes on in and out of the courtyard as if the trial taking place is of modest importance. The movie’s insight is that, for Africans, there is nothing that resilience would not solve. Life, therefore, keeps evolving independently of external evil forces trying to bring about the continent’s de-evolution. Consequently, Bamako, works in aggregation highlighting the frustrations of under-developments only to put into relief the important contrast between imaginations versus the imaginary. The movie, therefore, is self-consciously improvised reminding us that power begins with self-knowledge not its representation and that the truth is more powerful than its representation. Here it means a continent in touch with its own reality, in control of its own fate. This is where Bamako transcends its own object to raise the universal question which is how in our contemporary society of spectacle one could escape the pull of the ephemeral, the trivial when important matters of economic and social justice are at stake? Bamako sides with people by recognizing the necessity to go beyond images.