Haramuya | Chicago Reader


A gentle portrait of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, emerges from these interwoven vignettes of marginalized townspeople trying to eke out a living after the West African franc was devalued in 1994. Writer-director Drissa TourĂ© refuses to subordinate the details of his characters' lives to the artificial arc of a dominant narrative: a man's motor scooter is stolen, a boy gets a bad haircut, a father tries to teach his sons Islam, a girl persuades her mother to leave her life as a madam, and all are given equal weight. The film is a window to the chaotic, disorganized spaces of its poor shantytowns, where few people have real jobs and most resort to improvised scams. In contrast to the “city symphony” films of the 1920s, with their rhythmically organized celebrations of technology, this 1995 feature (TourĂ©'s second) is a hymn to the human—if the city is a mechanism, it's one that has already collapsed. 87 min.

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