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Eye of the Storm (L'Oeil du Cyclone)
by Mary Nyiri

Director: Sékou Traoré - Burkina Faso / France

In a nameless African country full of corruption and violence, a young, idealistic  lawyer, Emma Tou (N’Diaye) works as a court-appointed defense lawyer. She is  asked to represent Blackshouam (Assandé) who has been arrested for  involvement in the heinous mass murder of an entire village. He was captured  not far from the massacre and imprisoned, never speaking a word. He faces the  death penalty. There are multiple political implications and as Tou would later  learn, personal ones as well. Blackshouam initially refuses to speak to anyone  and presents as a person who is completely out of his mind. He is abused by his  guards. But slowly, Tou draws him out, beginning the conversation with a  cigarette in exchange for a nod. She believes in  a fair trial, regardless of who Blackshouam is and what he actually did,  continuing with his defense despite opposition from family and colleagues.

Assandé is brilliant as the child soldier growning into a truly troubled and twisted rebel. N’Diaye matches  his performance with her portrayal of steely determination and personal  conviction. The outstanding actors, suspense and a dramatic ending make this a  terrific film.