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.