|The film poster|
As a geeky teenager, Ouagadougou was my barometer. I would ask new acquaintances what the capital of Burkina Faso was; if they knew the answer, I was confident that this was a chap with a solid grasp of useless geographical facts, someone I could get along with. (And it was always chaps; I quickly learnt that this sort of thing didn’t impress girls. At all.)
Visiting the quirkily named city as a geeky 35-year-old, I was slightly underwhelmed. Not disappointed – it’s a friendly place and less stressful than other African cities I have been to – but it doesn’t take long to realise that there’s not much to it. The owner of the Tiandora Esperance hotel in Po had said Accra was “like America”. I had laughed at the time (perhaps a little too loudly) but I could now see his point. No sleek cars, no high-rise buildings, no smart cafes; it all felt very sleepy compared to Ghana’s rapidly expanding capital.
|Kids in Ouagadougou|
Having scoped out one of Ouaga’s outdoor cinemas earlier in the day, Hannah and I were surprised to find it locked up and in darkness when we turned up for 7pm, when the film was supposed to start. But on the dot of the hour – people are very punctual in Burkina Faso – the curator toddled up on his bike, smiled at us and unlocked the doors. Silently, he set up the projector, slipped in the disc and we were off. No popcorn, no trailers, no fuss.
|The big screen|
Then, husband’s new ‘girlfriend’ is mugged in the street (by a man who, for some reason, is dressed like Noddy Holder). A brave mechanic working nearby rescues her, and she falls in love with him.
|Sunset in Ouaga|
The cinematography was excellent, the acting was good and it didn’t go on too long. No one screamed, no one died and no one went mad with a scythe. And it was all enjoyed beneath the stars on a clear night in Ouagadougou. It may be faint praise, like being crowned the prettiest slug or most talented Spice Girl, but there is little doubt that Burkina Faso’s films are far and away the best in the region.