Jul 23, 2019 in Analysis

Cinema Reviews



Bamako is an unconventional drama, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako in 2006. Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, and Maimouna Hélène Diarra played the leading roles in the movie. 

The movie features the court trial held in Bamako, the capital of Mali. It is against the background of the ordinary urban life, the heated discussions over the guilt of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for making African countries poor. The two sides in a trial wonder whether these two organizations have yield to corruption or the problem is in an individual nation’s misguidance.  They still wonder who is guilty in poverty of African and other less-developed countries. 

In 2007, Aïssa Maïga, a female lead, was a nominee for the César Award, which is the national French film award by the French Ministry of Culture. Bamako won the Audience Award and the award for the Best French Language Film. Interestingly enough, the famous critic Andrew O’Hehir chose to present Bamako among all the movies at the Maryland Film Festival.


There were two major releases of the film: at the Cannes Film Festival in the middle of 2006, and the New Yorker Films in 2007. Such well-known magazines and newspapers as The New York Times, Empire, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe gave the movie incredibly warm and favorable reviews. 

Favorite Scenes

In such an incredible movie, I cannot distinguish only one favorite scene. The most impressive and heart-breaking scenes were at the end of the movie, which led up to Chaka, the death of Mele’s husband. The director of the movie creates definite interaction with a viewer presenting all the scenes chronologically. When I saw Mele singing, her inner agitation became obvious to me. She could hardly hold back her tears, and I felt sympathetic for her. When I saw her crying, I understood that it probably was either because of her current financial situation or the personal life issues. 

The second scene was when Mele was singing, and the pushed fan cuts her wedding photo in half. At that time, the viewers may see a sleeping baby and hear the fire shot in the background. Later they observe Mele’s husband lying and dying on the ground. People in the car near the place of incident could not hear anything as their car tires blew simultaneously with the gunshot. It is obvious that Chaka had shot himself. 

Thus, earlier in the movie, an African civilian while talking to a correspondent says that no one will ever listen and he should not even waste his time. The significance of this scene shows that African people usually leave other people behind in times of grieve or trouble. The same thing happened to Chaka when he was dying, and people neither intervened in his action nor saved him. 

Movie Impressions

In the course of world’s globalization, the movie Bamako is extremely impressive and extraordinary. The two international economic organizations showed their power to the ordinary people living in undeveloped countries. The symbolism of Bamako is that the same situation may take place everywhere in the real world. Powerful organizations and developed countries sometimes humiliate those who experience hard times.  

The movie depicts the everyday life of poor African people in Mali between the scenes of court trials. Viewers can also see such an image as bathing a child. For instance, there are also scenes featuring people who are trying to cross the Sahara to get on the ship, which will carry them from Morocco to Spain. African people risk their lives in order to escape the poverty they live in. 

This movie made a big impression on me. It made me understand that no matter how rich and successful people are, they should always remember about those who struggle and have hard times.

Daughters of the Dust


The movie Daughters of the Dust, self-sufficient, regarding of both form and content, was recorded, produced, and directed by Julie Dash in 1991. She is the first African-American woman who created fictional film in the USA. The movie director displays the relationship between the characters by using a single-shot sequence. The movie cast includes Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbara O. Jones, Trula Hoosier, and others.

Julie Dash shot the movie in the Gullah Sea Islands of Georgia at the end of the last century. Daughters of the Dust features the fictional story of the peasant family the day before they left for the mainland to start a new and happy life. The movie depicts African-American community, known as the Gullah for their unique culture. It narrates a story in a unique language, which is the combination of English, African, and French, created by Julie Dash. Daughters of the Dust is a movie about essential African-American issues of migration and culture. It seeks to express the identity of African-American community, especially the formation of African womanhood. 

Julie Dash started shooting the movie with 200 thousand dollars and finished it with 800 thousand. She claimed it has been difficult to find the finance from industry representatives. Since the time of its release, the movie won an enormous number of awards, such as the Best Film award, the Oscar Micheaux Award, and others. 

Favorite Scenes

The movie starts with introduction of viewers to the Gullah. It also shows the ritual and religious acts and the history of the family. The viewers see the picture of an unknown fully-clothed person dipping in the water. Initially, this image represents the old Gullah, making mystical impression on the viewers. The movie explains it later through the dialogue. All other scenes focus on the family life of an African-American community. Regardless of the visual opulence and emotional deepness, the content of the movie is simple. 

My favorite scene is when a big family is preparing for dinner to celebrate their migration to the mainland. This day represents their crisis, festivity, self-evaluation, and previous confrontations. Members of this big family ask each other what losses or gains their future life outside the islands could bring. The movie reduces these broad issues into the family intimate drama. The dual approaches of the peasants’ family are about the old life on the islands and the new one on the mainland.  

Movie Impressions

Interestingly enough, there are three visual devices that appear in the movie repeatedly, such as kaleidoscope, still camera, and stereo viewer. People have brought these devices from the mainland. They symbolize the excitement of documentation, the interruption of other people from outside the community, and temptation of new secular pleasures among the community. 

For instance, family photographer, Mr. Snead, familiarizes viewers with a kaleidoscope in the beginning of the movie, characterizing it as a mixture of science and imagination. The kaleidoscope images are different from those made by a still camera, with the documentary function and Mr. Snead’s family photos.

The movie presents stereoscope as the second device of imagination. It introduces images shot by newsreel camera. Another impressive thing for me was that the mysterious character of Eli and Eula’s future baby introduces stereoscope into the film. This child is invisible to everyone, except of Mr. Snead and others who try to see it through the camera lens. The ancestors sent a child to change the faith of its father. This movie is very interesting because it depicts so many various characters with different occupations. I have understood that the message of this movie is to recognize global problems within the stories of African-American women.

Time will tell


Time will tell is a 90-minute documentary and a tribute to the world-known reggae singer and songwriter Bob Marley. The movie, released in 1992, includes his retrospective compact disc. The retailers also started selling two posters. People still call Bob Marley a king, and a founder of reggae music. The motto and the main idea of this movie, directed by Declan Lowney and produced by Rocky Oldham, are to celebrate the music and the life of this legendary musician. The London’s Bijou Preview Cinema first screened it on March 30, 1992, and the Prince Charles Theatre opened it two weeks later.

The movie captures an enormous number of performances and interviews of Bob Marley. The movie features Bob Marley’s career and life in the chronological order. The Washington Post published the review of critic Richard Leiby, who says that Time Will Tell is not Bob Marley’s biography, but the tribute to the memory of him. Bob Marley says that it is his story, at the beginning of the movie. For the next 90 minutes he tells it through the interviews but largely through his music. It is not a full-scale movie, which features the whole life story of the singer. It is a combination of elements of his life, carrier, and beliefs. 

Favorite Scenes

The movie opens with a detailed boxed set, other famous records and videos. The movie’s exclusiveness is that it comprises excerpts from different interviews. Declan Lowney combined the footage of live, TV, and studio concerts and performances from 1973 to 1980. There is so little information on Bob Marley’s birth, inheritance, or creation of the Wailers. 

Most of all I liked the movie because it included the concert footage, and performance of dozens of my favorite songs, interrupted by Bob Marley’s interview and spoken remarks. The most impressive scenes in the movie were the ones between the songs, which featured the violence in Jamaica. Surely enough, Declan Lowney included them into the movie to show the viewers and Bob Marley’s fans that he wanted peace, love, and freedom for all people. These are the most important themes and messages featured in his songs. 

Movie Impressions

Some people, who are not familiar with Jamaican dialect, may not understand the accent of Bob Marley during the interviews. There are many viewers’ complaints about the understanding the language in the film.  Thus, it is important to use subtitles while watching it.  The quality of a sound and image varies throughout the film and many things of Bob Marley’s speech remain unclear. There are talks about spiritualism of the music, and especially about Jah Rastafari, who was the incarnation of Jesus Christ for him. The interviews combined with the live playing of the Wailers, and school football matches are impressive. The movie also features the footage of violence in Jamaica, and visit of Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie.

However, all fans of reggae music will enjoy Bob Marley’s performances during his last world tour, featured in this movie. Overall, Time Will Tell is an interesting and informative but a little bit complicated movie. Even though the filmmakers created the movie solely for Bob Marley’s fans, those who do not know much of his life can just appreciate his music. 

It was quite interesting for me to watch Time Will Tell. I enjoyed listening to the music and especially impressive were the featured performances.

Fruitvale Station


Fruitvale Station is a drama movie directed by Ryan Coogler in 2013. The leading roles in the movie, played by Michael Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand, and Chad Michael Murray, brought a huge success to them.

The film features the real life story of a man, Oscar Grant, who was 22 at that time. The Caucasian Bay Area Rapid Transit law enforcement officer shot him in the back on a subway platform in Oakland, California in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2009. Oscar’s friends, who were the witnesses of this incident, captured it on the film. Following this tragedy, the enormous number of protests spread around the country.

The movie starts with the footage of Oscar’s killing, made by one of the witnesses on his cell phone. The director decided to tell the story of the last day of Oscar’s life. At the beginning of the movie, Oscar is arguing with his girlfriend, who suspected him in unfaithfulness towards her. However, the daughter interrupted their dispute. The movie also features Oscar’s memories of his incarceration experience. The director of the movie also showed the relationships between Oscar and his little daughter, Tatiana.

Ryan Coogler has finished the movie with 900 thousand dollars and eventually has earned the total of 117 million dollars worldwide. The movie won two the highest prices, such as Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

Favorite Scenes

It is hard for me to define any favorite scenes in the movie, which features such a tragic story. Instead, I can name some of the most breathtaking and memorable episodes. 

Firstly, I admired the relationships between Oscar and his daughter. He had special relations with her, and did not want to hurt her. For instance, he stopped arguing with his wife when his daughter, Tatiana, entered the room. When he was leaving to see the fireworks with his friends, his daughter told him she was scared because the outside fireworks reminded her gun shots. The father told her not to be scared and promised her to come back, to spend the next day together, and make it full of fun. 

Secondly, it was interesting and at the same time sad for me to watch how the relationships between him and his wife, Sophina, revolved. They were arguing due to her suspicions of his infidelity. They are often arguing about his behavior and losing his job. He showed that he became better and caring man by getting rid of marijuana. 

However, the most frustrating scene for me was at the beginning of the movie. It was a real video of police officer shooting Oscar on the New Year’s Eve.  

Movie Impressions

The movie impressed me because the director featured the real life issue of police brutality, which led to the death of a young African-American boy. Fruitvale Station depicted the problem, which is not new, and still is the very important one in the history of the United States of America. 

This movie shows that the police continue to subject African-Americans to the excessive force more than their white counterparts. The tragedy that happened to Oscar Grant, who was unarmed and lying face down on a subway platform, happens every day throughout the America. Luckily enough, his friends were able to capture the act of shooting, and it eventually spread around the world. People were very angry and offended by the short term, which the officer served. 

The message of this movie is that the obligation of every police officer is to fight crimes, maintain order, and protect human rights of people. Unfortunately, it is still evident that a big number of people, especially minority groups, still face police brutality and violence, just like Oscar Grant did.


Related essays