Skip to main content
If You Are a Man film image, director Simon Panay

North American Premiere

Simon Panay’s film takes us into the world of Opio, a boy of 13 who works at a gold mine in Burkina Faso. As you might imagine, it’s a harsh existence, with an oppressively narrow range of options. Even the most basic education costs money, and Opio’s family has precious little of that. The boy decides on a training program for welders, but to earn enough for tuition, he must take his current occupation one step further, moving from peripheral tasks to the dangerous work of going down into the pits.

Shot in eye-catching widescreen, If You Are a Man practically makes a character of its environment: the parched, rugged terrain and the glaring sun almost set the terms of Opio’s struggle. His lot is hard, dangerous work in pursuit of things that are practically taken for granted by most Westerners—an injustice that lends Panay’s film a heightened suspense and a special poignancy.

 

This film is also available on VIFF Connect

 

Supported by

Media Partner

The Tyee logo

Director
Credits
Country of Origin

France/Burkina Faso

Year

2022

Language

In Lyélé, Mooré and French with English subtitles

18+
74 min

Book Tickets

Friday October 07

4:15 pm
Closed Captioning - limited avail Subtitles
International Village 8
Book Now

Sunday October 09

6:15 pm
Closed Captioning - limited avail Subtitles
International Village 8
Book Now

More Films in this Series

My Imaginary Country

Documentary Human Rights & Social Justice

Patricio Guzmán is the poet laureate of Chilean cinema and its foremost historian. Here he returns to his early work of frontline reportage, documenting the recent, extraordinary uprising which promises to transform Chile for the better.

International Village 8
A Fire Inside
A Fire Inside, directors Justin Krook and Luke Mazzaferro

A Fire Inside

Documentary

During Australia's apocalyptic bushfires in 2019-2020, volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line to save their communities. A clarion call about climate change and an ode to the camaraderie of strangers standing together in the midst of a crisis.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Klabona Keepers

Documentary Human Rights & Social Justice

The Klabona Keepers is a fierce account of the Tahltan Nation's struggle to protect the Klabona Sacred Headwaters from commercial mining. Interspersing verité cinematography with interviews, the film documents the tactics used by the land defenders.

International Village 10

All That Breathes

Award Winners Documentary

Two brothers are determined to nurse back to health New Delhi's ailing black kites—the megacity's ubiquitous birds of prey. Striving to keep their wildlife rescue clinic afloat, political tensions loom over their neighbourhood as ominously as the smog.

SFU Woodwards VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Retrograde
Retrograde film image, director Matthew Heineman

Retrograde

Retrograde captures details of American and Afghan soldiers navigating the politics of the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan, focusing on General Sami Sadat, who is left bearing the brunt of responsibility to fight an unwinnable war.

International Village 9

Adam Ondra: Pushing the Limits

Action & Suspense Documentary

One of the best rock climbers in the world, Adam Ondra prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. An intimate portrait of devotion and dedication to the art of climbing alongside the mental and physical toll it takes along the path to greatness.

International Village 8 International Village 10
Good Night Oppy
Good Night Oppy film image, director Ryan White

Good Night Oppy

Documentary

Sent on a mission to Mars with a life expectancy of 90 days, the exploration rover Opportunity instead lived for 15 years. With incredible interviews and awe-inspiring re-creations, this documentary doubles as an open-hearted, intergalactic underdog tale.

SFU Woodwards
The Killing of a Journalist
The Killing of a Journalist film image, director Matt Sarnecki

The Killing of a Journalist

Documentary Human Rights & Social Justice

Matt Sarnecki explores the murder of a Slovak reporter in a documentary that grips like a true page-turner: among the story ingredients are gangsters, crooked cops, blackmail, hidden thumb drives, and assassination plots via emoji-laced text messages.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre International Village 10

Love Will Come Later

Documentary Romance Women Directors

Like many young Moroccans, Samir considers marrying a foreigner the key to a better life in Europe—but his family would rather arrange a marriage for him with a Moroccan woman. When he falls in love with a tourist, he weighs a life-changing decision.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

1341 Frames of Love and War

Award Winners

Ran Tal's sobering film captures over 50 years of Israeli history through the lens of photojournalist Micha Bar-Am, providing a deep focus on the beauty and horror of humanity as chronicled through his camera.

SFU Woodwards International Village 10

If You Are a Man

Thirteen-year-old Opio works at a gold mine in Burkina Faso. It’s a harsh existence, and to earn the money for an education that might liberate him from it, the child must take a new, dangerous step in his occupation.

International Village 8

Credits

Producer

Xavier Castano, Christie Molia

Screenwriter

Simon Panay

Cinematography

Simon Panay

Editor

Thomas Marchand, Simon Panay

Original Music

Philippe Fivet

Director

Simon Panay headshot, If You Are a Man director

Simon Panay

Simon Panay has directed four short documentaries in West Africa. He received the ARP Young Talent of the Year Award in 2014 and the Documentary Grant from the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation in 2018. His short film Nobody Dies Here (2016), shot in an illegal mine in Benin, has been screened in 71 countries and has won 133 festival awards.