Idrissa Ouédraogo

  (Redirected from Idrissa Ouedraogo)

Idrissa Ouédraogo (21 January 1954 – 18 February 2018) was a Burkinabé filmmaker. His work often explored the conflict between rural and city life and tradition and modernity in his native Burkina Faso and elsewhere in Africa. He is best known for his feature film Tilaï, which won the Grand Prix at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and Samba Traoré (1993), which was nominated for the Silver Bear award at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

Idrissa Ouédraogo
Idrissa Ouedraogo , Cines del Sur 2007 (cropped).jpg
Idrissa Ouédraogo in 2007
Born(1954-01-21)21 January 1954
Died18 February 2018(2018-02-18) (aged 64)
Years active1970s–2018

Early life and educationEdit

Idrissa Ouédraogo was born in Banfora, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), in 1954.[2] He grew up in the town of Ouahigouya in the northern region of his homeland, and in 1976 he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree.[3] To ensure a better life his farmer parents sent him to Ouagadougou for further education, where he attended the African Institute for Cinema Studies (Institut Africain d’Etudes Cinématographiques) completing his studies in 1981 with a masters.[4] After studying in Kiev in the USSR he moved to Paris, where he graduated from the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) in 1985 with a DEA from the Sorbonne.[2][3][5]

Early careerEdit

On graduating from IAFEC in 1981, Ouédraogo set up his own independent film company, "The Future of Films", which became "Les Films de la Plaine".[3] In 1981, before moving to Kiev, he worked for the Burkina Faso Directorate of Cinema Production (Direction de la Production Cinématographique du Burkina Faso), where he directed several short films.[3]

In his earliest short, Pourquoi (1981), a man dreams of killing his wife, but is unsure if it is a dream or reality.[4] Ouédraogo followed this with another short film, Poko (1981), which won the short film prize at that year's Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). Poko follows a young pregnant woman who dies after failing to reach medical facilities whilst being transported on a cart. The film highlighted the fact that despite paying their taxes, the poor gain little real help in day to day necessities from the government.[4] This was followed by the shorts Les Écuelles ("The Platters"; 1983), Les Funérailles du Larle Naba, ("Larle Naba's Funeral"; 1984), Ouagadougou, Ouaga deux roues ("Ouagadougou, Ouaga Two Wheels"; 1985) and Issa le tisserand ("Issa the Weaver"; 1985).[6] His last short was Tenga (1985), which explores a villager who after moving to the city, returns to his hometown. In these shorts Ouédraogo explores themes and film techniques that he would return to in his future feature films.[6]

Feature filmsEdit

Ouédraogo's first feature, Yam Daabo ("The Choice"; 1986) was well received, and focuses on a rural family's decision to remain reliant on aid or to move location and become self-sufficient.[6] His first film to receive greater distribution was Yaaba ("Grandmother"), which won awards at festivals, including the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes, and was shown around the world, popular because of its beauty and simplicity. Despite its popularity, critics felt the Yaaba lacked the critical insight into the serious issues that affected village life.[6]

His next film Tilaï ("A Question of Honour") won the Grand Prix at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.[7] Centered around a moment of change in the Mòoré culture, where the lives of the children of a family are torn apart by the unwavering adherence to tradition in a rapidly transforming modern world.[8] The success of both Yam Daabo and Tilaï placed pressure on Ouédraogo to produce another international success, and his next film Karim and Sala was rushed to be shown at the 12th Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) and was not well received and suffered from poor distribution.[8] Samba Traoré (1993), returns to the themes of rural versus city life, tradition against change and was well received, being nominated for the Silver Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[9] Ouédraogo followed Samba Traoré with The Heart's Cry (Le Cri du cœur; 1994), Kini and Adams (1997), Anger of the Gods (La Colère des dieux; 2003) and Kato Kato (2006).

Ouédraogo's output has been criticised as being too focused on appealing to audiences in Africa and the West.[8] Françoise Pfaff names Ouédraogo, amongst a group of African directors, as a storyteller who has a predilection for filming shots of atypical African rural scenes, such as "monotonous images of women pounding millet or corn".[10] Pfaff's view is that Ouédraogo's work is too focused on non-African audiences and alienates African viewers.[10] In defence, Sharon A. Russell argues that Ouédraogo must always consider the needs of a director who wishes to keep filming in Africa, and that funding for the next film is a priority and that he is a talented person making films under difficult circumstances.[8]

Later life and deathEdit

In February 2015, Ouédraogo announced shortly before the opening of the 24th Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) his desire to direct "an important film" on foreign colonization of the African continent, the anti-colonial struggle and the leading figures of that movement.[11] During a March 2015 interview with Le Monde, Ouédraogo underlined what he believed to be three issues facing the film industry of Burkina Faso. Among those issues are the lack of sufficient knowledge and professionalism when it comes to cinematography. Funding shortages and the absence of a demanding local market are the two other problems he mentioned.[12] During his last few years, Ouédraogo's relatives noted his disappointment in modern African cinema due to what he considered to be deficiency in talent and in means of production.[13]

At around 5:30 a.m. GMT on 18 February 2018, Ouédraogo died at the Bois clinic in Ouagadougou at the age of 64 as a result of an unspecified "illness", according to a statement by the UNCB (Union nationale des cinéastes du Burkina).[14][15] Shortly after his death, Burkinabé president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré said that his country "had lost a filmmaker of immense talent".[16] On 20 February, he was buried at the Gounghin Cemetery. On its way there, the funeral procession stopped by the Monument of African Filmmakers at the Place des Cinéastes, close to the Ouagadougou City Hall, where he was commemorated by the city's mayor. The convoy then stopped in front of the gate of the FESPACO. Politicians, religious figures and artists were present at the procession, where he was given a military funeral.[17]



Release year Title
1981 Pourquoi? (Why?)
1981 Poko
1983 Les Écuelles (The Platters)
1983 Les funérailles du Larle Naba (Larle Naba's Funeral)
1984 Ouagadougou, Ouaga deux roues (Ouagadougou, Ouaga Two Wheels)
1984 Issa le Tisserand (Issa the Weaver)
1985 Tenga
1991 Obi
1994 Afrique, mon Afrique (Africa, My Africa)
1996 Samba et Leuk le lièvra (Samba and Leuk the Rabbit)
1994 Gorki
1997 Les parias du cinéma (The Outcasts of Cinema)
2001 Scénarios du Sahel


Release year Title
1987 Yam Daabo (The Choice)
1989 Yaaba (Grandmother)
1990 Tilaï (The Law)
1991 Karim and Sala
1993 Samba Traoré
1994 Le cri du cœur (The Heart's Cry)
1997 Kini and Adams
2003 La colère des dieux (Anger of the Gods)
2006 Kato Kato

Television seriesEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cinéma : le réalisateur burkinabè Idrissa Ouedraogo est mort Archived 2018-02-18 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  2. ^ a b "Idrissa Ouédraogo". (in French). Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Idrissa Ouédraogo". (in French). Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Sharon A. Russell (1998). Guide to African Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-313-29621-5. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  5. ^ "About the director – Biography: Idrissa Ouedraogo". Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Sharon A. Russell (1998). Guide to African Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-313-29621-5. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Tilaï". Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d Sharon A. Russell (1998). Guide to African Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-313-29621-5. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  9. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Prize Winners". Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  10. ^ a b Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike (1 May 1994). Black African Cinema. University of California Press. pp. 367–. ISBN 978-0-520-91236-6. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Idrissa Ouédraogo: "J'ai envie de faire un grand film sur la pénétration coloniale"". Les Echos du Faso. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Idrissa Ouedraogo : " Le cinéma low-cost ne veut rien dire "". Le Monde. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  13. ^ Le Cam, Morgane (19 February 2018). "Ouagadougou rend hommage au " maestro " Idrissa Ouedraogo". Le Monde. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  14. ^ Talabot, Jean (18 February 2018). "Le réalisateur burkinabé Idrissa Ouedraogo est mort". AFP via Le Figaro. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  15. ^ Deguenon, Vincent (18 February 2018). "Burkina-Faso : le baobab du cinéma africain Idrissa Ouédraogo a cassé sa pipe". Benin Web TV. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Burkina Faso: mort du cinéaste Idrissa Ouédraogo". RFI. 18 February 2018. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  17. ^ Ouédraogo, Dimitri (21 February 2018). "Cinéma : Idrissa OUEDRAOGO repose désormais au cimetière municipal de Gounghin". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  18. ^ Les cinémas d'Afrique: dictionnaire [Cinemas of Africa: a dictionary]. KARTHALA Editions. 2000. pp. 373–375. ISBN 9782845860605. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  19. ^ Abecassis, Michaël; et al. (2011). La francophonie ou l'éloge de la diversité. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9781443830430. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  20. ^ Armes, Roy (2008). Dictionnaire des cinéastes africains de long métrage [Dictionary of African filmmakers of feature films]. KARTHALA Editions. p. 169–170. ISBN 9782845869585. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  21. ^ McCluskey, Audrey T. (2007). Frame by Frame III: A Filmography of the African Diasporan Image, 1994-2004. Indiana University Press. p. 238. ISBN 9780253348296. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  22. ^ Betz, Mark (2009). Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema. University of Minnesota Press. p. 267. ISBN 9780816640355. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.
  23. ^ Dixon, Wheeler W. (2004). Film and Television After 9/11. SIU Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780809325566. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24.

External linksEdit