Capitaine Thomas Sankara

Christophe Cupelin
Switzerland | 2012 | 109 min
World premiere
Language : French
Subtitle : English

Thomas Sankara led a revolution in Burkina Faso from 1983 until he was assassinated in 1987. President of the poor, spokesman for the marginalized, non-conformist revolutionary, his fame has spread far and wide. Christophe Cupelin has edited archive material to produce this ironic and flamboyant reflection on the fate of one of Africa’s most important 20th century leaders.

Thomas Sankara’s leadership of the revolution in Burkina Faso, from 1984 until his assassination in the autumn of 1987, was brilliant but short-lived. During this period, imagination was given free rein: a historical aberration, an offense to colonial “stewardship”. Sankara’s charisma as president of the “land of men of integrity” (i.e. “Burkina Faso”), spokesman for the dispossessed, non-conformist revolutionary of simple but noble speech (“Some people ask me where imperialism lies? Look at your plates, at the imported rice and maize: it is only normal that those who supply your food should bend you to their will!”) has nonetheless spread far and wide. Christophe Cupelin decided not to interview those who were close to the martyred leader. Rather, he has patiently collected, meticulously sorted and edited the very limited audiovisual material that still exists to compose one of the most striking documentary biographies it has been our privilege to view: flamboyant and precise, punk and romantic. The unlikely meeting of Aeschylus, Chris Marker and Frantz Fanon on an editing bench.

Emmanuel Chicon

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