A Burkinabe Family
Educational/Institutional DVD: $298
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A film by Victorien Vialar. Burkina Faso and France, 2015, 90 mins. In Karaboro with English subtitles.
For classroom use in: Africa, Cultural Anthropology, Economics, Environment, Globalization, Human Rights, Politics, Sociology, and West Africa.
About the Film
In October 2014, a youth-fueled uprising in the West African country of Burkina Faso forced the country’s longtime President Blaise Compaoré out of office. But it led to a tumultuous two-year period of instability, including a coup and a military junta, before free democratic elections were held in November 2015, which left the nation feeling strongly optimistic about its future.
Against that backdrop, filmmaker Victorien Vialar paints an intimate, affectionate portrait of one sprawling Burkinabe clan, from the Karaboro ethnic group, living in the village of Tengrela, who have high hopes for both their family unit and their country at large. A BURKINABE FAMILY follows patriarch Tou Seydou and seven of his family members, ages 14 to 53, as they navigate life in their small rural compound. Oldest son, Adama, spent 10 years in Mali learning the Koran and now helps his father run the farm. After long days of work, Drissa rides his bike to the nearby city of Banfora where he’s taking night classes to become an electrician. Orokia, a star student, represents the family’s greatest hopes. She attends a private Catholic school and imagines one day becoming a doctor.
Told in a lyrical, meditative style punctuated with painterly vistas and silent reveries, Vialar vividly captures the gentle rhythms of the family’s daily existence—from farming and fishing to household chores and child rearing. He also brings to life the incandescent beauty of the bucolic landscape, whether it’s vast green fields of rice peopled with the sights and sounds of harvesting workers, a fisherman quietly casting his net on a tranquil lake, or a fiery orange sun setting over the horizon.
Seydou and his family cherish the values of hard work, education, cooperation, faith in God, respect for tradition, and absorbing the knowledge of elders. It’s a world of sacrifice and struggle, but also one of lofty ambitions. Seydou knows that his children’s futures will depend on their schooling, yet he acknowledges some of them may have to toil, like him, cultivating the land. Solidarity, though, is key. “In life, you can’t do a thing if you don’t walk hand by hand with your people,” Adama says. “This is true for a family, for a village, and for a country.”
About the Filmmaker
Victorien Vialar has a degree in socio-anthropology, cinematography, and editing. He previously produced LIVING IN TENGRELA (2012) selected for the Short Film Corner, Cannes Film Festival, as well as the film KARABORO LEGACY (2013).
Vialar produced A BURKINABE FAMILY because he feels it depicts the revolution through the eyes of this family. It’s a movie about transmission, family legacy, ensuring a generational value system, and respect for the ancestral knowledge and traditions.
The language in this documentary is a local dialect—Karaboro—spoken by only a few thousand people in Burkina Faso.
Selected Festivals and Awards
Cameroon International Film Festival, CAMIFF, April 2017
FESPACO, Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou
Doc Corner, Cannes Film Festival
Luxor African Film Festival, Egypt
Watch the Trailer
Download A BURKINABE FAMILY press kit.
Download high-res press photos by clicking on the thumbnails below.