A feature film in Pulaar/Fulfulde “Banel & Adama” in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2023.


Banel & Adama, the first feature film by the Fulani director, Ramata Toulay Sy has been selected for competition in the official selection of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. This promising drama features the love story of two young people living in a remote village in Fuuta Tooro (northern Senegal).

The Film, played by Khady Mane and Mamadou Diallo, pictures two young People who live a deep and sincere love. But when they decided to live apart from their families they were confronted with the conventions and restrictions imposed by their community. When Adam, who tries to live his passion informs the village council of his intentions to derelict in his blood duty as future chief, the whole community was disrupted, and chaos ensues, and the message from the community was clear. Passion and chaos have no place in this environment.

Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s film addresses themes of love, tradition, and the challenges faced by individuals in rural communities. The director seems to want to capture the essence of village life and highlight the emotions and internal conflicts of the characters. The performances of Khady Mane and Mamadou Diallo are eagerly awaited.

In a post, published by Sortir a Paris, Julie M, gave the following conclusions: “The selection of Banel & Adama at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 underlines the interest in this first film. Ramata-Toulaye Sy attempts to address universal issues and to arouse the audience’s empathy toward the characters. The visual aesthetics and the rhythm of the film could contribute to the captivating and immersive atmosphere of this story of thwarted love.

All in all, Banel & Adama is an expected drama that seems to fully deserve its place in the competition at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s direction, as well as the performances of Khady Mane and Mamadou Diallo, should make this film a work to watch closely on the Croisette. Audiences may be touched by the beauty and sincerity of this story of love confronted with social conventions.”

The film was shot in Podor and its surrounding villages; and it is integrally in Pulaar/Fulfulde language with a cast of local non-professional actors, including Khady Mane, Mamadou Diallo, Binta Racine Sy, and Moussa Sow.

Ramata-Toulaye Sy is a Senegalese-French film director and screenwriter. She studied at France’s prestigious film school La Femis. Her short film debut “Astel” was launched at the TIFF in ’21 and New Directors/New Films in ’22 and prior to moving behind the camera she was among the trio of writers on Guillaume Giovanetti and Çagla Zencirci’s Sibel (2019) and was among the writers Atiq Rahimi’s Our Lady of the Nile (2019).

Banel & Adama” is produced by Eric Névé and Maud Leclair Névé at the Paris-based company La Chauve-Souris (“The Pirogu”), Margaux Juvénal at Take Shelter. Souleymane Kébé at Astou Production is co-producing. Tandem will release the film in France.

The crew includes the editor Vincent Tricon (“Divines”), cinematographer Amine Berrada (“The Unknown Saint”), and music composer Bachar Mar-Khalifé (“My Brothers and I,” “Skies of Lebanon”).

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