Twist in Bamako: Guédiguian combines romanticism and commitment [critique]

Guédiguian scrutinizes the revolutionary ideal, where dreams end up shattering against the wall of reality while leaving Marseille for a time for Africa. A success.

If a contemporary filmmaker seems inseparable from a city, it is Robert Guédiguian. But we tend to forget that regularly (The Champ-de-Mars walker, The Trip to Armenia..), the director of Marius and Jeannette makes infidelities in Marseille to go and put his camera elsewhere. With Twist in Bamako, he made a long double geographical and temporal journey. Cap on Mali of the 60s with the newly acquired independence, in the footsteps of a young activist traveling the country to explain the virtues of socialism which he pegged to the body. And it is during this journey that he crosses the path of a young woman who will turn his life upside down by clandestinely fleeing her family on the verge of forcibly marrying her. Even if it seems a step aside, Twist in Bamako is fully in line with the cinema of Guédiguian which celebrates the commitment without masking its disappointing tomorrows, as when here revolutionary fellow travelers fall into fanaticism and deny the humanism which had guided them. This humanism that Guédiguian has pegged to the body, which embraces this Mali (reconstituted in Senegal because of the terrorist threat) and its dance clubs – perceived as supporters of enemy capitalism by the new power in place – in a perfect balance between in-depth knowledge of its subject matter and sense of melodramatic romance. He also reveals a stunning debutante narrowly, whom we should hear again very quickly and for a very long time: Alice Da Luz


By Robert Guédiguian. With Alice Da Luz, Stéphane Bak, Issaka Sawadogo … Duration: 2h09. Released on January 5, 2022

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