Idrissa Ouédraogo: Hidden Figures

Barbican Cinema, London, United Kingdom
15 Sep 2022 - 29 Sep 2022

Yaaba, Burkina Faso 1989, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo

Yaaba, Burkina Faso 1989, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo

Barbican Cinema presents the latest Hidden Figures programme in September by celebrating the work of pioneering director Idrissa Ouédraogo, whose distinctive films portrayed the lives of rural and working class people in Burkina Faso with empathy and care.

This programme is presented for the first time in partnership with the curatorial platform Culture Art Society and is programmed by Awa Konaté.

Born in 1954, and after completing his training at the now defunct African Institute for Cinema Studies (INAFEC), Ouédraogo was a mentee of the renowned director Gaston Kaboré – who’s considered to be the father of film in the west African country – and his work evokes an illustrious group of filmmakers who illustrate what African cinema stands for.


Tilaï (The Law) 12A* + Introduction by Awa Konaté
Burkina Faso 1990, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo, 81 min
Thu 15 Sep, 6.20 pm, Cinema 2

Forbidden love shakes a rural community in Idrissa Ouédraogo’s searing drama, considered by many critics to be the director’s masterpiece. Set in a village of the precolonial past, Tilaï (The Law) is about a forbidden love affair and the deadly consequences for all involved. After an extended absence Saga returns to home to discover that his father has wed Nogma — his promised bride who is now his stepmother. Still in love, they begin an affair which according to the laws of the village is incestuous, leading to a decision to flee to start a new life together. Tilaï won the Jury Grand Prize at the 1990 edition of the Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 1991 edition of FESPACO.

This screens with:
Les Parias du Cinéma (The Outcasts of Cinema)
Burkina Faso 1997, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo, 6 min

Idrissa Ouédraogo reflects on the state of African cinema.

Yaaba (12A*)
Burkina Faso 1989, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo, 90 min
Sat 17 Sep, 6.30 pm, Cinema 2

Two young children befriend a woman accused of witchcraft in Idrissa Ouédraogo’s touching parable with a great central performance from young Noufou Ouédraogo. With a spellbinding ancient landscape set as a backdrop, Yaaba is a tale of the intimacies of friendship across generations and cultural dogmas. It recounts life in a rural village where Bilal, a young boy, and his cousin Nopoko befriend Sana, whom they come to call ‘Yaaba’, an affectionate name meaning ‘grandmother’. Yaaba has been ostracised from her village where she is accused of being a witch responsible for all the ills that befall them, finding love and protection only from Bilal and Nopoko.

Samba Traoré 12A + ScreenTalk (speaker tbc)
Burkina Faso 1993, Dir Idrissa Ouédraogo, 85 min
Thu 29 September 6.15 pm, Cinema 2

A man commits a robbery and returns to his village to start a new life but finds he cannot escape his past in Idrissa Ouédraogo’s impressive debut. After robbing a gas station that leads to the death of his friend, Samba returns to his village with a newfound wealth that he uses to begin a new life: marrying Saratou and opening a local bar. His wealth raises questions amongst the villagers, which Samba insists has been earned working in the city. But as the guilt and lies of his past begin to haunt, his new life unravels as quickly as it began. Samba Traoré won the Silver Bear at the 43rd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival in 1993.



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