This is a family drama of the highest order about a Burkinese couple and their son struggling with life in France – and with each other. This, Idrissa Ouedraogo’s sixth feature, is as assured and as affecting as his masterpiece Tilai.
In a village in Burkina Faso, Saffi receives good news: her husband Ibrahim has made enough money to send for her and their 11-year-old son Moctar to join him in Paris. Six years earlier, Ibrahim was unable to bring the family to France for financial reasons; now the family will be one again. But Moctar, though French born, is not so keen to leave Africa and his beloved grandfather. Soon after arriving in France, Moctar begins to see a hyena roaming the streets.
His parents and teachers dismiss this deeply symbolic manifestation as impossible and unrealistic. It is only the Frenchman Paulo, whom Moctar meets on the street and befriends, who understands what the hyena symbolises - warmth and familiarity of home. Movingly, Moctar and Paolo help each other to come to terms with their respective demons. Deeply affecting, the film’s elegant simplicity conveys depths of profundity, a hallmark of the work of Idrissa Ouedraogo.
1994: Venice Film Festival - OCIC Award - Honorable Mention