Moustapha Dao 4 Films Review
Recently I bought a set of four short films by Burkinabe filmmaker Moustapha Dao from www(DOT)ArthouseCinema(DOT)net, which is sponsoring this review. These four films, made between 1987 and 1999, are unique and inventive creations, drawing upon the oral tradition of storytelling that has been dominant in West Africa for centuries. In these films, the fantastic and the realistic merge together, creating a playful and wondrous atmosphere. Though made for children, these are not sentimental dumb-downed Disney fare. Dao treats his audience with respect, and thus these can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. Cinephiles will find much to love here, as well as lovers of fantastic cinema. The first film in the set, A nous la rue, is markedly more realistic than the rest, having been made during the Burkinabe Revolution led by Captain Thomas Sankara; as such it focuses on presenting social issues to children in an accessible format. However, the later fantasy films, despite featuring talking animals and a more surreal atmosphere, still leave room for social commentary.
The DVD presentation is fair. These films have not been restored or remastered, sadly, but look pretty good. However, the DVD is letterboxed as opposed to anamorphic, and for the two films which are primarily in French, have hardcoded French subtitles for the sections in the Mossi language. French softsubs, like those provided for the two Mossi language shorts, would have been preferable. English and Spanish softsubs are also provided for all of the shorts. The audio is standard stereo audio at 192kpbs. However, for films this unique and rare, the technical shortcomings can be overlooked for the most part.
Thank you for reading. This review was made possible with the help from www(DOT)ArthouseCinema(DOT)net.