‘At least they’ll know that we know’, says one of the characters in this powerful drama. Bamako is both a political indictment and a poetic mood sketch. Director Abderrahmane Sissako brings fiction and reality seamlessly together in a film that counts among the most important of the year.
In a poor district of Bamako, the capital of Mali, people start a court case at a citizens’ tribunal against international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which they hold partly responsible for the poverty that plagues and divides Africa. Even though their attempts for justice seem hopeless, the judges, lawyers and witnesses do all they can to make their case.
The court case takes place in the courtyard of a house. The house is shared by different families, including that of Melé, a singer and her husband Chaka, who is unemployed. While the court case develops, the residents go about their everyday lives. Some hardly seem to notice the case, others become involved. The relationship between Melé and Chaka is at breaking point. They too have very different attitudes to what is going on in their courtyard.