Interview with Pierre Yameogo, by Olivier Barlet

Cannes, May 1998
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Tourbillon remains in the same vein as your earlier films : a direct approach to African reality.
It’s the style I have adopted ever since I started making films. I take my inspiration from reality as I believe that film is first and foremost a medium of information, and many things in Africa deserve to be investigated and accentuated. My films are not necessarily realist, but are based on reality.
The criticisms are far reaching. Do you think the spectator risks coming out of the film with a bitter sensation of out-and-out corruption ?
No, because the film also shows uncorrupt people, but it is obvious that a film about corruption will foreground the issue. The message is unambiguous.
You must have faced some obstruction.
Yes, I had a lot of problems but I was supported by those who believe in the necessity of this kind of film. The French subsidy and Burkinabè government’s support helped me a lot. The usual African film funding avenues clammed up as some people wrongly saw the content of the film to be racist towards the Lebanese. The vision of the film proves that that is not the case.
The film in fact seems to denounce racism in both directions…
Of course, and more than actual racism, it denounces the lack of understanding between the two communities which is treated in a realistic manner, although the reality is more violent than what we depicted in the film.
How was the film received in Ouagadougou ?
Very well. The film has broken all the box-office records in the history of Burkinabè film !
What made you choose to include footage of the Lebanese war in a fiction film ?
The elderly character who sees the past war, experienced exile before going into business. Who can say that the war is over in the Lebanon ? She dreams of peace so that she can go home.
What is the origin of the expression « good government » used in the film ?
The Baule Summit organized by President Mitterrand. The expression was picked up on in a number of African summits, but it has never been concretized. I was trying to highlight the distance between the promises and the reality.
Wasis Diop’s music is stunning. How did you work together ?
It was a wonderful collaboration. I asked him to read the script and to see if it interested him. He understood that the rhythm of the film is faster than in most African films, and that there are a lot of shots and settings, which enabled us to work well together and we were very happy with the outcome.
With Dani Kouyate and Guy Désiré Yameogo as assistants, you were amongst good friends !
Of course, it was real teamwork and we all help each other out on each other’s respective films. This teamwork is often lacking in African film. We compliment each other well, we know the realities, and we were able to work together on the problematic sequences. It was a frank, friendly, and even parental collaboration !

///Article N° : 5329

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