In 2004 in Guinea, Djély Mory Kouyaté, a civil servant of hereditary bard status, created and directed a film inspired by a story widely recounted among the Malinke of Mali and Guinea. This story, which had previously inspired several pop songs, tells how a boy and a girl who grew up together and initially believed they were brother and sister eventually marry, the woman ultimately betraying her husband. The film, performed in the Malinke language and intended primarily for the home-viewing market, has proven popular both in Guinea and among Guinean immigrants in Europe. The present analysis focuses on the film's relationship to particular versions of the oral tale, the transition from the narrative conventions of the oral tale to those of film, and the film as a showcase for traditional cultural practices. The director, actors, and many viewers felt that precisely because these practices are in decline, the film provided an important opportunity for transmitting knowledge to the younger generations, urbanites, and expatriates. Although at three hours the film is considerably longer than any oral version collected so far, interviewees all felt that it was frustratingly short, given the potentialities of the cinematic medium.


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pp. 107-120
Launched on MUSE
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