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Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness)

Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness)

Original Title: Heremakono
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Mauritania, France | Hassaniya, Bambara, French
2002 | 96min.
Subtitles: English
Format: 35mm
Abderrahmane Sissako’s stunning film is a portrait of a transit city on the western African coast, a satirical meditation on globalization. At the edge of the vast Mauritanian desert lies the small coastal town of Nouadhibou. Seventeen-year-old Abdallah is visiting his mother there before emigrating to Europe. Unable to speak the local language, the young man finds himself a stranger in his own country. Yet, he becomes involved in the lives of the inhabitants of this strange and unfamiliar world. Sissako was born in Mauritania and grew up in neighboring Mali, in northwest Africa. He lived for ten years in Moscow, where he studied film. Heremakono is set in the coastal village where the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean—the path to Europe—meet. Sissako himself stayed there before proceeding to Moscow. Abdallah, the 17-year-old boy who stops in Nouadhibou in the film, on his way, presumably to Moscow, is perhaps inspired by Sissako’s own experience. Sissako’s poetic and beautifully photographed film is a sensitive and poignant look at the conflict between tradition and progress. Heremakono won the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes in 2002, the Grand Prize at the 2003 Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and the best film prize at the 2003 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. —Raman

Director,  Abderrahmane Sissako

Director,  Abderrahmane Sissako

Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Mauritania in 1961 and largely grew up in Mali before studying film at Moscow’s prestigious Federal State Film Institute (VGIK). He made his first short Le jeu in 1991 and his first feature Life on Earth in 1998, which won several awards including prizes in San Francisco and Ougadougou. His film Waiting for Happiness was screened at Un Certain Regard at Cannes, winning the FIPRESCI Prize. Timbuktu is Sissako’s return to Mali following his widely acclaimed Bamako, which also premiered at Cannes and received worldwide release.

Cast and Crew

Director
Abderrahmane Sissako
Cast
Khatra Ould Abdel Kader, Maata Ould Mohamed Abeid, Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed, Nana Diakite, Fatimetou Mint Ahmeda, Makanfing Dabo
Production Company
Duo Films
Music
Oumou Sangare
Producer
Maji-da Abdi, Guillaume de Seille, Nicolas Royer
Screenwriter
Abderrahmane Sissako
Editor
Nadia Ben Rachid
Cinematographer
Jacques Besse
Production Designer
Joseph Kpobly, Laurent Cavero
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