Directors: Simon Gillard

  • COUNTRY : Belgium, Burkina Faso


Boli Bana offers an immersion in the Fulani traditions in Burkina Faso where boys and girls are raised separately on the Savannah and experience different rituals as they progress towards adulthood. The film delicately recreates the moment of transition to adolescence by following two protagonists, Ama and Aissita. After Ama's circumcision, we go with him into the bush where he camps under the stars with the other herdsboys. The smallest cry from the animals takes on terrifying proportions, and the rain-making rituals are performed excitedly but anxiously. Meanwhile, Aissita and her girlfriends are also passing a milestone: a woman with black powder and needles has come to tattoo their faces. The structure of the film weaves connections between the human and animal environments, revealing the organic nature of their world, a world in which modern technology had partly reduced the traditional separation between the sexes. The herdboys show the images of their 'journey' on their cell phone, and the young food-sellers jokingly invent a fanciful genealogy for themselves. The hint of passivity and vulnerability that the rituals create at first glance is replaced by the certainty of an emerging inner strength.

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