In Mali, houses that have only been built for temporary accommodation are called heremakono: they are ‘waiting for happiness’. On the coast of Mauritania is Nouadhibou, a small village full of heremakono. It is a transit haven from where Africans from different countries hope to make the leap to affluent Europe. Before starting on their journey, they try to earn some money in this place where any feeling of home is absent.
In Heremakono, Abdallah, a young Malinese of Mauritanian origin, arrives in Nouadhibou to say goodbye to his mother after a temporary stay. He doesn’t speak the language and is not very interested in the local festivities and customs. While his thoughts are already in the far north, he gradually becomes fascinated by several inhabitants of Nouadhibou, such as Nana, the sensual young woman next door, and Makan, a fortune hunter just like Abdallah.
When they reach the windy coastal town that is on the border of desert and ocean, everything seems possible but nothing is certain. Played by a nonprofessional cast, improvised scenes form the basis for Sissako’s poetic and calm reflections that never adopt an absolute standpoint, giving them even more suggestive power.


Director
Abderrahmane Sissako
Countries of production
France, Mauritania
Production Year
2002
Festival Edition
IFFR 2007
Length
96'
Medium
35mm
International title
Waiting for Happiness
Languages
French, Bambara
Producers
Duo Films, Guillaume de Seille
Sales
Celluloid Dreams
Screenplay
Abderrahmane Sissako
Cinematography
Jacques Besse
Editor
Nadia Ben Rachid
Production Design
Laurent Cavero, Joseph Kpobly
Sound Design
Laurent Dreyer
Music
Oumou Sangaré
Cast
Khatra Ould Abder Kader, Maata Ould Mohamed Abeid
Website
http://celluloid-dreams.com/celluloid_dreams_library/s_z/waiting_for_happiness