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Keita! lHeritage du griot

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Director  Dani Kouyate
Country  Burkina Faso
6.4/10 IMDb

Language  French
Keita! lHeritage du griot movie poster
Release date  1995

Keita! lHeritage du griot (English title: Keita! Voice of the Griot ) is a 1995 Burkinabe drama film directed by Dani Kouyate and starring Sotigui Kouyate.


It is an ordinary afternoon for young Mabo Keïta, at home, in Burkina Faso (West Africa). While his parents are taking a nap, he reads a schoolbook on the front porch when a stranger - an elderly man carrying his own hammock - appears for an unexpected visit. It turns out that the old man is a griot, a West African musician/entertainer whose performances include tribal histories and genealogies. The position of a griot is a time-honored one and passed down from father to son for many generations.


  • Seydou Boro: Sundjata Keita
  • Hamed Dicko: Mabo Keita
  • Abdoulaye Komboudri: Drissa Fafana
  • Sotigui Kouyate: Djeliba Kouyate
  • Claire Sanon: Sitan
  • Blandine Yameogo: Sogolon
  • Plot

    Keita is a retelling of the first third of Sundjata Keitas 13th-century epic, Sundjata. It tells of Mabo Keita (Dicko), a thirteen-year-old boy who lives in a middle-class family in Ouagadougou and attends a good school. One day he encounters Djeliba Kouyate (Kouyate), an elderly griot, who wants to tell the young Keita the origin of his name, being related to Sundata (Boro). Kouyate begins his story with the Mandeng creation myth: As all living beings come together in the newly formed Earth, one man proclaims to the masses that he wants to be their king. They respond, "We do not hate you." The old griot goes on to tell how Keitas family are descended from buffalo, the blackbirds are always watching him, and how people have roots that are deep in the earth. The film shows realistic-looking flashbacks to ancient times and ends with Sundjata Keita being exiled from the Kingdom of Mande, to which he lays claim.


    Dani Kouyate directed a number of short films before the release of Keita, his first full-length feature. The films working title was Keita: From Mouth to Ear. It was shot in the towns of Ouagadougou, Sindou, and Ouahabou. The assistant director was Alidou Badini.


    Keita! received the Best First Film Prize from the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco) and was awarded the Junior Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The New York Times praised the film, claiming it "succeeds admirably in keeping... history alive." In a 1995 interview, Kouyate reflected on the experience and commenting on traditional society, saying:

    Sometimes when you dont know where youre heading, you have to return to where you came from in order to think things over before continuing your journey. Today, with all the things happening to her, Africa has trouble finding which direction to take�modernity, tradition, or some other road. We are not really capable of digesting all these things. We dont know who we are, and we dont know where we are going. We are between two things. Between our traditions and our modernity.


    Keita! lHeritage du griot Wikipedia
    Keita! lHeritage du griot IMDb Keita! lHeritage du griot