Apolline Traore's 2003 video from Burkina Faso is an appealing fable about prejudice, community, and love. A pregnant stranger arrives in a village and dies in childbirth. The orphan, a girl, is given to a childless couple to raise, then grows up a dwarf and is mocked by the villagers. Her adoptive father throws her out of his house after murdering his wife, but a handsome farmer builds her a hut, and she makes delicious cakes using a pan that's her only inheritance from her birth mother. The theme of redemptive spiritual connections wins out over occasional awkwardness in imagery and pacing. In Dioula with English subtitles.
By Fred Camper