2005, Burkina Faso/France/Switzerland, directed by S. Pierre Yaméogo
S. Pierre Yaméogo's Delwende is in some sense a return to the source, the rich vein of Burkinabé cinema centered on the village. However, like Cheick Oumar Sissoko's Malian film Finzan, it is a harsh critique of the way that village life treats the weak, and particularly women. The story centers on two women, one forced to marry against her will, the other - her mother - denounced as a witch as the villagers attempt to find a scapegoat for a meningitis epidemic sweeping the countryside (the villagers, with the exception of one easily dismissed character, are oblivious to the radio reports on the sickness).
The older woman is cast out of her village, and forced, eventually, to the streets of Ouagadougou and ultimately a refuge for women who have been similarly denounced, though the refuge itself is a tragic place, and Yaméogo underlines the women's terrible fate in documenting the hangar-like institution with almost brutal candour. When she hears the news the daughter, Pougbila, embarks on a quest to find her mother and confront the village. In telling Pougbila's story Yaméogo creates an authentically magnetic heroine, whose energy is compelling, and whose strength of belief is a powerful weapon; there's a magnificent shot that tracks her arrival into Ouagadougou, walking alongside a herd of cattle but focused absolutely on her own mission.