#BurkinaFaso #Senegal: PARLONS GRAND-MÈRE (1989), directed by African cinema luminary Djibril Diop Mambéty, is a short, primarily observational documentary that follows the filming of Burkinabé great Idrissa Ouédraogo’s YAABA (GRANDMOTHER, 1989).
The light-hearted look at the challenges of filming in Burkina Faso offers a glimpse into what African cinema production was like at the time.
YAABA is a film about a boy and his friend who offer comfort to an elderly woman ostracized by their village as a witch. As a friendship develops, the children discover kindness and wisdom in the woman, challenging the community’s prejudices.
The narrative unfolds around themes of compassion, innocence, and the complexity of human relationships within a traditional Burkinabé setting.
YAABA received several awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.
Mambéty’s “Making of” documentary is notable if only because it represented a rarely filmed exploration of the filmmaking process in Sub-Saharan Africa at the time.
By documenting the behind-the-scenes of YAABA, Mambéty produced archival insight into African filmmaking that we can all appreciate 35 years later.
Although primarily unintrusive, Mambéty’s voice, rich and resonant, weaves through the film, advocating for the dignity of African creators, the continent, and its youth.
Watch the 34-minute documentary provided here.