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New York Time – USA – 12 avril 1996
A Storyteller's Wisdom Connects a boy to the Past

Of special note is the opening night selection from Burkina Faso, Dani Kouyaté's «Kéïta! The Voice of the Griot.» Shot with eloquent plainness, it finds an elderly griot (or storyteller) seeking out a young boy in order to present the boy with a rousing account of his ancestors. This gently enveloping film, which contrasts the boy's curiosity about the past with the parents' narrowly modern ideas, has the enchantment of a folk tale as well as certain folksy touches of its own. The griot, the serene and noble figure, travels with his hammock, so that he can rest whenever he finds two neighboring trees. The old man's wisdom ranges from «You can't run and scratch your foot at the same time» to a stirring sense of why this young listener's mythic, exalted history should never be forgotten.
Mr Kouyaté's film succeeds admirably in keeping that history alive.

Janet Maslin

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