05 - 03
The FESPACO film festival, held biennially in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, has concluded with Senegalese film director Alain Formose Gormis receiving its highest award, the Yennenga Gold Stallion.
Felicité, which debuted this past February at the Berlin International Film Festival, was the film that won Gormis his second Gold Stallion, having also won the same at the 2013 FESPACO festival for Tey.
Felicité is set in Kinshasa, DRC, where we meet the eponymous heroine, a single mother who ekes a living as a singer. Her son suffers a terrible accident one day, and she needs to find a ton of money to save her son’s leg, which could to be amputated. Her forays into the wealthy suburbs and decrepit neighborhoods of Kinshasa are aided by a Tabu, a patron of her bar.
Besides winning the grand prize, Felicité also took home the Best Sound Award.
L’Orage Africain-Un continent sous influence (The African Storm – a continent under influence) won Benin’s Sylvestre Amoussou the Yennenga Silver Stallion.
L’Orage Africain follows the president of a fictional African nation as he struggles to fight subversive efforts directed at him by Westerners after he decides to nationalize all of his country’s natural resources, erstwhile almost wholly controlled by these Westerners. Its political tone has an uncomfortable resonance with the state of exploitation of natural resources across Africa today, which hardly seems to benefit from its vast natural riches.
The film was also honored by the Special Prize of the National Assembly.
Morocco’s Said Khallaf took the Bronze Stallion with A Mile in my Shoes, the journey of a boy, raised in crushing poverty, who decides to aim his vengeance at the society at large. The film was also feted with a Soumanou Vieira Prize of the FACC (The African federation of cinema critics).