(GIN) – Just days before a major retrospective of his cinematic work in Brazil, Idrissa Ouedraogo passed away in his home country of Burkina Faso. He was 64.
“We talked two weeks ago,” said a grieving Janaina Oliveira of Brazil’s Center for Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Studies in a Facebook post. “I was bringing him to Brazil. Tickets, screening, tribute…it was all set. He was so happy.”
The prolific Ouedraogo was best known for Tilai, a complicated story about a man returning to his village after a long absence, only to find that his father has married his fiance. Even though she is now officially his mother, they begin an affair, and trouble ensues. The film won the Cannes Jury Prize in 1990.
His later films included “Samba Traoré” (1993), about the aftermath of a botched robbery (the title is a character’s name), and “Kini & Adams” (1997), a story about two friends in Zimbabwe. “Samba Traoré” won a prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and “Kini & Adams” was shown at Cannes.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said in a statement that his country “has lost a filmmaker of immense talent,” noting that the director “truly contributed to turning the spotlight on Burkinabe and African cinema beyond our borders.”
His first film, Yam Daabo , arrived in 1986, followed by Yaaba, an unusual love story between a young boy and an elderly woman spurned by her village.
He made several 3-minute films for the series Art for the World, an NGO associated with the U.N. Dept. of Public Information which sees art as an important tool for fostering dialogue among diverse peoples, cultures, and worldviews, encouraging tolerance and solidarity in the defense of human rights.
Malian filmmaker Cheick Omar Cissoko, secretary general of the Panafrican Federation of Filmmakers commented: “Idrissa has made human stories of such intensity, built around extremely strong characters (…) His writing is a leap forward within African cinema. He was always looking for the best.”
The films can be seen on YouTube. w/pix of I. Ouedraogo