Daouda Coulibaly, France/Senegal
Ladji (Ibrahim Koma), a 20-year-old Malian, is working as an apprentice bus driver. His ambition is to become a bus driver and finally have enough money to get his sister Aminata (Inna Modja) out of prostitution. When Ladji is passed over for promotion he decides to take a more shady route to provide a living for his sister and himself. After contacting Driss, a local drug dealer, Ladji and his two best friends start trafficking kilos of cocaine from Guinea back into Mali. Showing a clear talent for the work of a smuggler his trips become more and more dangerous as well as profitable. After a short time Ladji and Aminata are living a hedonistic lifestyle off the proceeds of drugs. Aminata thrives in this new world but Ladji, although apparently ‘made’ for this type of work, is slowly being consumed by the immorality.
The performance by Ibrahim Koma is powerful, with most of the drama coming from what he doesn’t say. The ending is unexpected but fitting, as with life the road taken sometimes leads in only one direction, unless you deliberately turn. A first feature for Director/Screenwriter Daouda Coulibaly, it was entered in the First Feature Competition at the London Film Festival this year as well as screening at the Hamburg Filmfest.