The rise and rise of a young drug trafficker takes on a new level of jeopardy when civil war convulses Mali in this muscular gangster thriller with a sharp political edge.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
“Malian director Daouda Coulibaly’s auspicious debut is a pulse-pounding political thriller about a low-level transit worker turned drug trafficker, whose rapid ascent in Bamako’s criminal underworld entangles him with the military, the government, and eventually al-Qaeda… Suspenseful and impeccably paced, Coulibaly’s first feature marks him as a director to watch, a filmmaker equally skilled at crafting thrilling set pieces and at shining a critical light on systems of power.” — Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival
“Scarface is the genre gift that keeps on giving, even when set in Mali. Yet one of the strengths of Wùlu is that its writer-director, Daouda Coulibaly, in a tense, tight feature debut, has made a familiar story singularly his own. And while much remains the same – the crime, the punishment and the intimations of incest – here, acts of individual wrongdoing tend to pale next to the wrongs of postcolonialism and organized terror. That deepens the tragedy of Ladji (an excellent Ibrahim Koma), who, even as he advances through the underworld, remains as much a victim as a victimizer.” — Manohla Dargis, NY Times