Tributes have been pouring in for Burkina Faso filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo, who passed away on Sunday, aged 64.
In their obituaries, Variety hailed him as “a towering figure of African cinema’ and The New York Times described him as “legendary,” while on Twitter, Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore said the world had “lost a filmmaker of immense talent,” who “truly contributed to raising the profile of Burkinabe and African cinema beyond our borders… Africa is losing one of its most valuable ambassadors in the field of culture.”
Ouedraogo came to international attention in 1989 with Yaaba (Grandmother), the story of two children who make friends with an old woman who has been outcast as a witch by her village. Yaaba won the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize and a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, among other accolades.
The New York Times described it as a “spare and resonant drama with perfect control” and praised its “utter simplicity,” “great sophistication” and “exquisite clarity.” Yaaba is available to stream only on Showmax in Africa.
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Other career highlights included 1990’s Tilai (The Law), about a man who returns to his village to discover his father has married the woman he loves, and Samba Traore, about a thief who returns to his village. Tilai won the grand prize at both Cannes and FESPACO, while 1992’s Samba Traore won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.