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Mali, United States, France · 2006
1h 55m
Director Abderrahmane Sissako
Starring Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Maimouna Hélène Diarra, Balla Habib Dembélé
Genre Drama

Melé works as a bar singer as her unemployed husband struggles to find work and their relationship disintegrates. In the courtyard where they live a trial court has been set up, debating actions to take against the IMF and World Bank in response to the systemic impoverishment of the African continent. Life goes on around the trial.

Stream Bamako

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What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

Bamako brings relief from the latest round of Africa chic in the media, reversing "the flood of information that flows one way." It colors the Africa Problem from the inside out.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Bamako is something different: a work of cool intelligence and profound anger, a long, dense, argument that is also a haunting visual poem.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

A barrel of laughs, this ain't. But it's a fearless high-wire act, grim and witty, confrontational and self-mocking. Its message may be dire, but Bamako is a feat of intellectual and cinematic daring that will leave your brain buzzing.


Empire by David Parkinson

Far from an easy watch, either in terms of its hard-hitting content, seemingly haphazard structuring or its dense symbolism. But this makes sense of the political intricacies by balancing the rhetoric and statistics with everyday occurrences that give the iniquities and inadequacies a human face.


Variety by Deborah Young

Rather miraculously, picture succeeds in painlessly educating its viewers about global politics and economics while it describes contemporary Africa with freshness and clarity.


New York Daily News by Elizabeth Weitzman

Heated speeches about the International Monetary Fund, debt relief and global responsibility may not sound like your idea of Friday-night entertainment, but Sissako makes a strong case.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

The serious accusations are leavened by the moments of brimming, illogical, intimate neighborly dailiness the filmmaker also captures with warmth and infectious high spirits.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

Credit Sissako for entertainingly blending serious international issues with the daily comings and goings of village life. A bit more Glover wouldn't have hurt - but you can't have everything.


Boston Globe by Wesley Morris

As demonstrated in his previous film, a plangent snapshot of subsistence called "Waiting for Happiness," Sissako is a poet, and the filmmaking in this new picture is stuff of a deserving laureate.

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