Buried Dreams

Buried Dreams


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

A man with a mysterious past, Mocktar (Makena Diop), travels from Nigeria to the desert landscape of Burkino Faso, where he hopes to work in one of the local mines. Memories of his family are like dust on the wind.

At the mines, people - like mole-men - disappear beneath the dusty landscape to chip off rocks in the hopes of finding the nugget that will make their fortune, although many instead find only death.

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It is this triumph of hope over expectation which drives this French-Canadian movie. Coumba (Fatou Tall-Salgues) has hopes, too - to send her daughter away to school in Paris. Her husband was killed in a cave-in, so now she has become part of the team. Mocktar's crew give her a portion of their rock, almost as penance for their inability to save her from widowhood. Meanwhile the rest of the team just dream of getting rich, while slowly slipping into an addiction to Blue-Blue - amphetamines which they take to steel themselves for the trips beneath the sand.

Like wading through the dunes in which the film is set, the action moves langourously and features no fanfare or flashy pay off. There is a connection between Mocktar and Coumba but it is in the realm of a shared cup of tea or a stolen look, which may - or may not - signify something much more deep.

It is a testimony to this study of one man’s quest for something so elusive even he seems unsure of what it is, that you would gain a lot from it even without subtitles. The cinematography is stunning and director Laurent Salgues camera drinks up the landscape, capturing its desolation which is mirrored in Mocktar's soul.

Diop and Tall-Salgues put in beautifully understated peformances, if this were Hollywood, they'd be chatting insessantly, here, in the hard-labour of the wind-swept landscape, a glance speaks a thousand words.

This film will not be to everyone's taste. Action is thin on the ground and when it comes, it is brutal and swift.

But there is a haunting quality to Mocktar's story, that rewards close attention. Although this is an narrative, it is the style of the new breed of docudrama cross-overs such as Ghosts and Fast Food Nation, which place a thin veneer of fiction over the harsh facts of life experienced by thousands who live and die unseen by the West.

The dusty desert of Buried Dreams blows through your mind long after the credis have rolled.

Reviewed on: 12 Feb 2007
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A man tries to escape the memory of his past in the harsh mining environment of Burkina Faso.

Director: Laurent Salgues

Writer: Laurent Salgues

Starring: Makena Diop, Fatou Tall-Salgues, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Souleymane Souré, Joseph B. Tapsoba

Year: 2006

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: Burkina Faso, Canada, France


Sundance 2007

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