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THE NIGHT OF TRUTH
aka LA NUIT DE LA VeRITe
UK: BFI (UK Wide)
Cast: Naky Sy Savane, Commandant Moussa Cisse, Georgette Pare, Amada Ouedraougo, Rasmane Ouedraougo, Sami Rama, Capitaine Yves Thombiano, Capitaine Claude Kabore, Odilia Yoni, Cedric Zida, Raissa Andrea Yoni, Adama Ouedraougo, Troupe Naba Yaadega, Serge Henry
Director: Fanta Regina Nacro
Countries: France / Burkina Faso
Languages: French / Moore / Dioula (English subtitles)
UK: 100 mins
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong bloody violence
UK Release Date: 9 September 2005
bfi Distribution is delighted to release THE NIGHT OF TRUTH, the audacious and darkly satirical feature debut of the award-winning Burkinabe female director Fanta Nacro. THE NIGHT OF TRUTH, set in an unnamed African country, dramatises the process of truth and reconciliation, echoing the recent histories of South Africa, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, and highlights not only the female perspective but also the subtleties and complexities of learning to live together again in trust and respect.
Genocide, raw and recent, is not far from the minds of the Nayak and Bonande peoples who have been locked in a decade of bloody ethnic conflict. Now, the President (commander of the Nayak national army) and Colonel Theo (controller of the rebel Bonande army) are determined to end the conflict. A celebration is arranged, but cynicism remains on both sides and - as the evening wears on - tension mounts to an almost unbearable degree. Not only have drums been banned from the musical entertainment, because, in the past, they were used as a call to arms, but many of the women, notably the president's wife Edna, cannot simply forgive and forget. The evening comes to a climax when the village jester Tomoto (Rasmane Ouedraougo), a Nayak-hater, indignantly decides to beat the drums during the festivities. The sound becomes a trigger that releases the feelings of distrust and fear that have been suppressed by both sides.
THE NIGHT OF TRUTH was conceived in memory of Fanta Nacro's uncle, accused of fomenting a coup, who was murdered in a horrifically brutal way, echoed in the film itself. Compelling performances from a cast of mainly non-professional actors lend an eerie authenticity to film (all of the men are played by members of the Burkina army). The professional actress Naky Sy Savane is particularly outstanding in her role as Edna, the president's wife, who is grief-stricken over her son's death and harbours a bitter lust for revenge. Her brooding performance conjures an atmosphere of sinister foreboding, demonstrating the extent to which official peace deals are undermined by the lasting psychological wounds inflicted by war. Georgette Pare (another professional) is also utterly convincing as Soumari, the colonel's wife, who expresses her doubts but bravely does what she can to host a peaceful gathering.
Fanta Nacro was the first woman from Burkina Faso to direct a fiction film (the short Un Certain matin) and this, her award-winning feature debut, is a stunning example of the rise of African women filmmakers, bringing a new voice and perspective to African cinema.