Nafi’s Father

Mamadou Dia

IndieLisboa 2020 •

Senegal, Fiction, 2019, 109′

Mamadou Dia’s first feature film comes to us doubly prized at Locarno Film Festival (Golden Leopard in the Filmmakers of the Present competition and First Feature). Shot in his hometown, Matal in Senegal, this is the story of two brothers, Tierno and Ousmane, that clash because of the wedding of their two children. The first wants his boy to marry his brother’s daughter, the beautiful Nafi. What is also at stake is the spreading of fundamentalism in a small village. 

Baamum Nafi is a family tale centered on Tierno, the imam of a Senegalese village, and his daughter Nafi. Neither of them is interested in blindly following the wishes of Tierno’s brother, an Islamic leader who forces his authority on the village, nor of succumbing to religious extremism. Pursuing a marriage-contract between the children of the two brothers and embracing a shift towards hyper-conservative leadership would be a tragedy for all inhabitants. A pulsating first work through the interpretations of Alassane Sy and Aïcha Talla, Baamum Nafi is a cinema lesson and we can only look forward to the next film by Mamadou Dia. Although the works of Dia and Ousmane Sembène (whose work we show this year in the retrospective section) are separated for decades, what moves them, in the heart of Senegal, is still there: a cinema of Good and Evil, of great beauty. (Mafalda Melo)