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The lost movie of the week: Wend Kuuni (1983)

Wend Kuuni” is a film from Burkina Faso, a country that is not necessarily connected to cinema but “Wend Kuuni” proves that the country has the potential to make great movies.

In pre-colonial times a peddler crossing the savanna discovers a child lying unconscious in the bush. When the boy comes to, he is mute and cannot explain who he is. The peddler leaves him with a family in the nearest village. After a search for his parents, the family adopts him, giving him the name Wend Kuuni (God’s Gift) and a loving sister with whom he bonds. Wend Kuuni regains his speech only after witnessing a tragic event that prompts him to reveal his own painful history.

Gaston Kaboré (“Buud Yam”, “Rabi”) brings this ancient tale to the big screen. Using this story, Kaboré shows us how fractured his country is but also how traditional values can solve many of his countries problems. The film tries to recover a “usable” past to solve the current problems. This film was a message of hope at the time where his country was trying to overcome political turmoil and economic recession.

The film won the Best French Language Film at the César’s (the French Oscars).

Stanley Berenboom

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