Abderrahmane Sissako

Abderrahmane Sissako

Highest Rated: 100% Dry Season (2006)

Lowest Rated: 78% Waiting for Happiness (2002)

Birthday: Oct 13, 1961

Birthplace: Mauritania

As the single most critically and historically vital director to emerge from the Northwest African country of Mauritania, Abderrahmane Sissako also claims importance on a continental level. During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Sissako joined a select few contemporaries, including Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety, in his ability to successfully carry African cinema into the international marketplace and give it a distinguished global voice. He received additional attention in 2008 when tapped by Martin Scorsese to serve on the board of the World Cinema Foundation, vis-à-vis such colleagues as Wim Wenders and Bertrand Tavernier. A native of Kiffa, Mauritania, Sissako was born in late 1961, and emigrated to the neighboring country of Mali, where he spent much of his boyhood. In the early '80s, then twentysomething Sissako relocated to the USSR and attended Moscow's Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. His thesis film in that program, the 23-minute short "Le Jeu" (or 'The Game") was filmed in Turkmenistan, doubling onscreen for Mauritania. During the early 1990s, Sissako began to sojourn between countries, and concurrent with those travels, shot both fictional and documentary shorts on a variety of cultural landscapes, many located in Africa. In a remarkably short period of time, Sissako became a successful competitor at prestigious film festivals. His sophomore effort, the 1993 short narrative "October," dramatized the tribulations of an interracial couple. Shot in the Moscow suburbs, it won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes for the then-33-year-old filmmaker. Key additional works included: the 1998 seriocomedy "Life on Earth," about a member of the Malian diaspora who returns from Paris to his village in Mali and contemplates the primitiveness of the community at the dawn of the millennium; the 2002 drama "Waiting for Happiness," about an alienated young man visiting his mother's seaside village in Mauritania; and the shattering "Bamako" (2006), executive produced by Danny Glover, a cool meditation on the potentially calamitous role of the World Bank and other altruistic organizations in the Africa of the early 2000s. Sissako's next feature, however, completely outstripped the international acclaim of the works preceding it. Entitled "Timbuktu," and issued on the festival circuit in 2014, it begins as a relatively simple fable about a violent disagreement between a Malian fisherman and farmer, and spins that story into a harrowing and provocative meditation on the dangers of Islamic extremism. The film received almost unanimous worldwide acclaim, competed for the 2014 Palme d'or at Cannes, and won two awards at that festival: the François Chalais Award and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. It then became the first Oscar-nominated Mauritanian film in cinema history, in early 2015. Also in 2015, Sissako was named president of the Cannes Short Films and Cinefondation Jury.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
98% 77% Timbuktu Director,
Screenwriter
$1.1M 2014
84% 70% Bamako Director,
Writer,
Producer
$112.4K 2006
100% 77% Dry Season Producer - 2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Forest Producer - 2003
78% 51% Waiting for Happiness Director,
Writer
$2.0K 2002
No Score Yet No Score Yet Rostov-Luanda Director,
Screenwriter
- 1998
No Score Yet 40% Life on Earth Dramane (Character),
Director,
Writer
- 1998