Keita Film Analysis Directions
20 points possible; see Course Plan for deadlines


1. Label your assignment with a complete MLA-style heading:

Your First + Last Name
HUM 211, Prof. C. Agatucci
Keita Film Analysis

20 January 2010

2.  Identify the HUM 211 text [i.e. the film] being analyzed:

Keita: The Heritage of the Griot. [French title: Keita! L'héritage du griot.] Burkina Faso & France, 1994. Dir. Dani Kouyaté [b. 1961, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso]. Perf. Seydou Boro, Hamed Dicko, Abdoulaye Komboudri, Sotigui Kouyaté. Afix Productions-California Newsreel, 1994. Videotape & DVD. [In Jula and French, with English subtitles; Run time: approx. 94 min.]


3. Film Analysis: Write a one or two page analysis (using complete sentences, please) on TWO of the following topic choices:  


Topic 3.A. Parallel Stories.  Director Dani Kouyate’s film Keita parallels the contemporary story of Mabo Keita and the past story of Sundjata, Mabo’s illustrious ancestor. 
--Identify two significant similarities that tie the stories of Mabo Keita and his ancestor Sundjata together in the film; and

--Illustrate each identified similarity by describing/citing specific example/s from the film; and
--Explain why you think these similarities are significant
to notice and examine in helping us better understand and interpret the meaning of the film.


Topic 3.B. Traditional vs. Modern Education.  Djeliba and Mr. Fofano come into direct conflict over the best education for young Mabo Keita, with Mabo torn between the two.

--Identify two significant differences between the traditional education offered by Djeliba and the modern education offered by Mr. Fofano in the film; and

-- Illustrate each identified difference by describing/citing specific example/s from the film; and

--Explain why you think these differences are significant to notice and examine in helping us better understand and interpret the meaning of the film.


Topic 3.C. The Film’s Open Ending/s: The final scenes of the film Keita leave the stories of both past and present heroes Sundjata and Mabo Keita at turbulent crossroads without their griots to guide them in making difficult choices that will shape their futures.  Of course, audiences familiar with the “Epic of Sundjata”  know the choices Sundjata made and the outcome of his heroic story. However, the modern story of young Mabo is left open and conflicted at the end of the film. 

Explain why you think director Dani Kouyate chose to end his film Keita this way.  In doing so, comment on these questions:
--What is Mabo’s conflict at the end of the film?  What difficult choice/s lie ahead of him and where might he find help?  Do you think the rest of Sunjdata’s story (see 3.1 Epic of Sundjata) predicts the outcome of Mabo’s story?

--What do you make of Director Dani Kouyate’s statement? : “Most people speak about the shock provoked by the encounter of modernity and tradition. For me, this shock does not really exist. There are two parallel realities, and we are in between. And this is the problem. Sometimes we are traditional, sometimes we are modern without ever having achieved to integrate the two in an intelligent way. And this is why we have to take the bull by the horns” (Gavron and Reinwald, cited  in Agatucci, 3.2 “Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide.”).

Topic 3.D. Griots Past and Present:
--Compare past and present roles of the Griot in Mande society, using examples from the film: e.g. Djeliba Kouyate of the present, and Doua and Bella Fasseke (AKA Balla Fasseke) of the past. 
--Comment also on filmmaker Dani Kouyate and his father Sogui Kouyate (see Agatucci, 1.2 “Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide”) as modern-day griots.  Do you think the Kouyates are using the modern medium of film to revitalize and carry out the griot’s challenging mission in today’s Africa?  If so, how?  .

4. Film Questions and Other comments: 

--Pose one or more questions for discussion raised by your viewing of Keita: The Heritage of the Griot.

--Comment on other aspects of the film you thought striking/significant (but were not addressed by any of the part 3 topics above).




References & Unit 3 assigned readings:

      --3.1 Epic of Sundjata ONLINE:
      --3.2 Keita Film Notes & Viewing Guide ONLINE:

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Last updated: 13 January 2010