One of 30 features scheduled to screen in the Panorama section at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival…
From Ivorian filmmaker Lonesome Solo (Bamba Souleymane) comes what is being described as “a raw, noir-tinged urban legend set to the cadence of slam poetry and the beat of street dance.“
Titled Burn It Up Djassa, the film has been proclaimed a signal of a new artistic film movement in Ivory Coast, one that will “bring back cinema to the street, to the real speak of folk… in the spirit of Italian neorealism or the French New Wave,” as stated by the film’s director.
Here’s a synopsis:
After his father died, Tony (Abdoul Karim Konaté) was pulled out of school by his mother; and when she passed away, he made his way by selling cigarettes on Princess Street, famous in Abidjan for its bars, dance clubs and exciting nightlife. Now twenty-five-years old, Tony is bitterly convinced that his future has been sacrificed, and is desperate for a way out of the ghetto. His older brother Mike (Mamadou Diomandé) has been considerably luckier, having found a job on the police force, while Ange (Adélaïde Ouattara), their younger sister, is also pursuing respectability by learning to become a hairdresser — but she secretly moonlights as a prostitute in order make ends meet. Looking for easy money, Tony eventually turns to gambling and is dragged further down into the seedy underworld of Wassakara — until he commits a shocking crime that irrevocably changes his life. Now an outlaw, he goes on the run and is relentlessly pursued by the police, his own brother among them.
As you can see in the trailer below, the film is narrated by a storyteller (Mohamed Bamba).
It was shot entirely in Abidjan, only a few months before the Ivorian civil war broke out, and features all local talents behind and infront of the screen.
Burin It Up Djassa premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, and will screen at the Berlinale next month.
Trailer below for a glimpse at what looks like a vérité-style, violent, crime drama: