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Banel & Adama film image; two people lie on grass

Banel & Adama

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In Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s stunning debut, Banel can scarcely stand to be separated from her lover, Adama, even for a few hours. But her passion and defiance alarm the elders, and the drought that consumes their village feels like a curse. This timeless fable of amour fou evokes ancient myth and Senegalese folk tale, but it could equally play as an American film noir. Desire is the agent of destruction, to put oneself above community and morality is to incur the wrath of the gods.

In Sy’s film, Adama — the young man — is relatively powerless, no matter that the village elders insist on investing him as chief. It’s Banel (a remarkable performance by Khady Mane) whose refusal to relax her demands of her lover that causes such turbulence. Richly textured, the arresting imagery carries the emotional force of the story, which builds inexorably to a powerful climax.

A powerful love story with a bruised heart.

Philip de Semlyen, Time Out

A striking debut that puts Sy on the map… Banel isn’t so much an unreliable narrator as she is the star of a fever dream where symbolism and reality meld.

Sophie Monks Kaufman, Indiewire

Director

Ramata-Toulaye Sy

Cast

Khady Mane, Mamadou Diallo

Credits
Country of Origin

Senegal/Mali/France

Year

2023

Language

In Pulaar and French with English subtitles

19+
87 min

Book Tickets

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Credits

Screenwriter

Ramata-Toulaye Sy

Cinematography

Amine Berrada

Editor

Vincent Tricon

Original Music

Bachar Mar-Khalifé

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