In the Mooré language of Burkina Faso, 'yaaba' means grandmother, in the sense of respect towards an elder touched with wisdom and grace. And 'yaaba' is the name given by a young village boy to an old woman ostracised by the community and forced to live alone outside their walls. Ouedraogo's beautifully controlled film gently illustrates how the villagers' prejudice towards the old woman reveals to the boy an adult world of folly and generosity that he's about to join himself. Amid the palpable heat and dust, characters are confidently drawnin the great cinema tradition of the rural poor, wit more than an occasional nod to Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali. Oudraogo's direction of actors is superb, and as in Cissé's Yeelen, an input of European money and talent gives the film a polished surface. Unlike Yeelen, though, this seeks not to create a magical universe, but to tell a direct, affecting story of superstition and love that marks Ouedraogo as a talent to watch.
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