Simplice Ganou's documentary look at the life of street children on the road to Burkina Faso's capital is an intriguing, but shifting, object. Mr. Ganou follows a small group of kids who survive as the best they can on a long walk to the capital Ouagadougou, where they hope to find more money and more comfort than they do in Koudougou. No longer children, even though they're very young, the half dozen boys tell their stories for the camera - most of them having run away from home over familyabuse or poverty issues, only to find more poverty on the streets where they gravitate naturally towards each other and find some camaraderie in other kids living just like them. They're not particularly happy with the designation "street children" they are usually handed, but it is what they are, maintaining the respect for their elders but as playful and devious as any street children can be, sniffing glue as a way to forget their daily hardships.

     Mr. Ganou's illustrative sincerity is underlined by the strength of the images as well as by the urgency of the subject; but there's an element of queasiness introduced by the scenes of the kids getting high on glue, begging the question of the documentarian's position towards its subjects. Ultimately, though, Bakoroman (local for "street children") fails to rise above its sincerity and remains an important but strict document, its television-grade visuals unable to raise it above the average documentary about African children's hardships.

Director/writer: Simplice Ganou
Camera: Michel K. Zongo (colour)
Sound: Moumouni Sodré
Editor: Annie Waks
Production: L'Atelier Documentaire and Diamprod in collaboration with TV Rennes 35 and Africalia
France/Burkina Faso/Belgium, 2011, 62 minutes

Screened: DocLisboa 2012 official competition advance screener, Lisbon, October 11th 2012


Popular Posts