Q&A with Souleymane Cissé and Yeelen Cohen to precede the feature
Set in a timeless past, Yeelen recounts the mythic tale of a power struggle between father and son. Soma Diarra, the jealous father and member of a feared Bambara secret society, plots to kill his son and rival, Nianankoro. Highly stylized and deliberately paced, Yeelen forces the viewer to navigate fundamental oppositions: change and tradition, life and death, light and darkness. Inspired by the classic oral literature of the Mande, Souleymane Cissè traces the circle of time and shows us that the origin and the end are one and the same. Film Comment called Yeelen “not only the most beautifully photographed African film ever, but also the best African film ever made.” Winner of a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.
Lights of Passage (excerpt)
Yeelen Cohen, 2023, USA/Mali, 12m
Lights of Passage is a hybrid autobiographical documentary, a cinematic baptism ceremony, and an homage to cultural preservation through ancestral storytelling practices. The story orbits two filmmakers at opposite ends of their careers, separated by oceans, who are cosmically connected through a name and a film.