Yeelen (Brightness) (1987)
Yeelen (Brightness) Photos
as Attou la jeune femme Peul
as Rouma Boll the king Peul
as Mah the mother
as Bofing l'oncle
as Le petit garcon d'Attou
as Le chef de Komo
Critic Reviews for Yeelen (Brightness)
Like many stories of creation, Yeelen begins with light: the sun rises over a barren West African landscape.
It's a sign of true genius that a director can summon the rise, fall and subsequent rebirth of the cosmos with such a profound understanding and respect for the shape of things.
Audience Reviews for Yeelen (Brightness)
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.
[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]
An unusual African folk tale. A young man with shamanistic powers is chased all over Mali but his father, who seeks to kill him. The reason why is never entirely clear, from what I could gather there may have been a political allegory involved. The film is quite well shot and performances are compelling if not especially deep. It provides some interesting glances at Bambara culture and mythology, though I'm in no position to validate its authenticity. The surreal, magical, ambiguous nature of the movie is intriguing, but ultimately doesn't add up to anything exciting. Glad to have watched it once, wouldn't bother with it again. And the sight of a live chicken being set on fire was rather unpleasant.
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