This international award-winning film, directed by Gaston Kabore, offers up a gentle fable of a mute, memory-less orphan found and adopted by members of an African village. Renamed "Wend Kuuni," or "God's Gift," the boy finds safety and recovers his ability to communicate amongst his newly adopted family and village - despite flashbacks that ironically reveal his mother's fate after abject rejection by her native community.
Set before the coming of Islam and Christianity, unveiled through the rhythmic compositions of African oral storytelling, Kabore's fable offers lessons for contemporary Burkina Faso. Traditional Mossi values yet have the power to heal and unify a modern African state torn by dislocation, refugees, and social conflict. "Wend Kuuni" is a landmark in African filmmakers' attempts to "return to the sources" of their culture, to recover a "usable" African past to solve the problems of the African present. Filmmaker Gaston Kaboré adapts the measured rhythms of traditional African storytelling to create an authentically African cinematic language. He uses this simple tale to demonstrate that traditional Mossi values can still provide answers to many problems besetting modern Africa, fractured by rural dislocation, refugees and political conflict.
1985: Cesar Awards: Best French Language Film
1986: Fribourg International Film Festival: Distribution Help Award.