Yeelen (Brightness)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 774
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Yeelen (Brightness) Photos

Movie Info

Filmed in the African country of Mali, Yeelen (Brightness) weaves several Kenyan folk stories into an engaging framework. The hero is a young boy whose father is an evil magician. Marked for death by his long-absent papa, the boy bids goodbye to his mother and heads for the hills. En route to his kindly uncle, our hero utilizes his own conjuring skills for the benefit of those less fortunate than himself; he also rescues a king from being deposed. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Yeelen (Brightness)

All Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Yeelen (Brightness)

  • Nov 21, 2013
    Yeelen is a magical tale full of the rich history of Mali brought very effectively to life given the inevitably small budget. It is the earliest film that I have seen for the region and was inevitably the inspiration for other film makers from Northwest Africa.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2010
    [font=Century Gothic]In "Yeelen", Niankoro(Issiaka Kane) and his mother(Soumba Traore) have been on the run from his father, Soma(Niamanto Sanogo), for the past ten years. But now he is quickly closing in.(Niankoro, now a young man, is like his father, a wizard.) Partially out of desperation, his mother formulates a plan where her and her son are to split up. While she petitions help from higher powers, she gives him a fetish and glass pyramid to give to his uncle, so he can reconcile father and son.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Yeelen" is a resplendently spiritual movie about the world changing which is personified in the conflict between father and son. Soma perhaps rightfully fears his son becoming more powerful than him and taking his place, and seeks to stop his ascension. In the meantime, Niankoro has power but not quite the knowledge of the world to go along with it.[/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2007
    Apparently, I'm one of the few people out there who will take no brownie points regarding a film's quality because of the trials and tribulations associated with it's making. I don't care if it took 20 years and 13 failed marriages and even a trip to Hell and back to make - if the film sucks, then it sucks. Plain and simple. Yeelen is a film that obviously took some effort and some love to make - the filmmakers had almost no money, really; all they had was a pocketful of dreams. Too bad they didn't have a half-way decent screenplay to go with it. Just because a movie comes from an impoverished nation, made by impoverished people about impoverished people, doesn't mean it's automatically good. Pi was made on a shoestring budget - and Aronofsky made a masterpiece. Yeelen, however, is possibly the single most annoying and irritating movie I've ever endured. There is one scene that lasts an excuriating 15 minutes where all the people do is say the same basic things over and over again, smoking pipes, waving tails around, and sing in the single most obnoxious, wailing "voice" I've ever heard. This movie is supposed to be a fairy tale type thing - hero goes on journey, falls in love, defeats evil, etc. etc. But how did they manage to make that so unbearably boring and pointless? Some scenes are inexplicable - why is there one shot of a man with a donkey head laughing? Some are morbidly disturbing - a topless scene of the single most old, withered, and ugly woman I've ever seen definately counts as such. And some scenes are hilariously bad, contrived, and horribly written, acted, and directed - actually, what am I saying - that wasn't just one scene, that was the whole movie. Clearly, the director has no idea how to shoot a film - the hero first showing off his mystical powers was shot so ineptly that it took us about half an hour afterwards to realize he'd done anything at all. And the "final confrontation" is hilarious - the whole movie's been building to a fight between these two, so what happens is they put some poles down, they stare at each other (for endless minutes), light comes from the poles, they fall to their knees blinded - end of scene. That was the final fight. Both are dead now. And blessedly, the movie is close to ending. Honestly - if i was given a choice between death or enduring Yeelen again, I would rather take my shot at seeing Heaven.
    GilbertKZ . Super Reviewer

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