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Dir. Daouda Coulibaly
France, Senegal, Mali. 2016. 95 mins. French, Bambara with English subtitles. N/C 15+
Malian director Daouda Coulibaly’s auspicious debut feature Wùlu (‘dog’ in Bambara) brings to our screens an intensely-packed political thriller, with the narco-trafficking underworld at its heart. We follow the main character Ladji (Ibrahim Koma), a 20-year-old poorly paid transit worker from Bamako who leads a quiet life, looking out for his family and keeping out of trouble. When corruption at work leads to him losing out on yet another promotion, Ladji falls victim to temptation; his rapid transformation into drug trafficker quickly entangles him in the criminal underworld, including the military, government and eventually al-Qaeda. With a screenplay that skillfully dabbles in the African oral storytelling and initiation traditions, and featuring a commanding performance from Ibrahim Koma, Coulibaly’s potent and enigmatic debut feature establishes him as a filmmaker to watch, touching on the known yet unspoken dysfunctions underneath the Mali’s 2012 coup d’etat.
Followed by a Q&A with director Daouda Coulibaly. Preceded by the winner of the Baobab Award for Best Short Film.
Born in Marseille, French-Malian filmmaker Daouda Coulibaly questions the place of West Africa in its relationship to the rest of the world. He explored themes including recent history and cultural identity in his short films A History of Independence (2009) and Tinyè So (2011). With Wùlu, his feature film debut, he looks for answers to what caused the 2012 crisis in Mali.