Eye of Ladji (The)

  • Wùlu
Genre : Thriller
Type : Fiction
Original title : Ladji Nyè [Working title]
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2016
Format : Feature
Running time : 96 (in minutes)

Bamako, Mali, 2007
Ladji, a 20 year old man, works hard as a prantiké (bus driver) to get out his older sister, Aminata, from prostitution.As he doesn't get the promotion he was expecting, he decides to contact Driss, a drug dealer who owes him a favour.
Assisted by his two mischievous friends Houphouet and Zol, Ladji carries kilos of cocaine from Conakry to Bamako. His rapid rise to the top of the drug trafficking underworld, gives him easy access to money, women and a life that he had never dreamt of. But the price to pay is high.

A film by Daouda Coulibaly

Mali / France / Senegal 2016 · Fiction Feature | 95 min | OV with English st | Colour | FF 2016

Original language: Bambara, French

Ibrahim Koma : Ladji
Inna Modja : Aminata
Ismaël NDiaye : Zol
Jean-Marie Traoré : Houphouet
Habib Dembélé : Issiaka
Mariame NDiaye : Assitan
Quim Gutiérrez : The Colombian
Olivier Rabourdin : Jean-François

My name is Ladji. I'm learning to drive a Sotrama, the minibuses that are everywhere in Bamako. My position gives me an unrivalled perspective of the arrogant, condescending, dishonest and corrupt human beings around me - on whom I don't mind admitting that I spit, each and every day.

When my boss unexpectedly fires me, it doesn't take me long to come up with an idea for a fresh start in life. Because if there's one thing I've learned during my long years as a junior driver, it's that the man who has nothing is nothing. From now on, I want everything. Like other people. And since I don't like other people, I'm going to go get what I want in their houses. I'm going to be a thief.

With my accomplice Dramane, I have a little set-up which soon takes us from petty larceny to grand theft, and we soon have a fairly comfortable lifestyle. But fairly comfortable is not enough for someone like me.
We meet up with Sékou, Idrissa and Jean-François. When Jean-François suggests we could get into the drug business, we say yes before he's finished asking.

The logical consequence is that we come up in the world of crime and get some of the benefits: money, coke, high-end goods and girls. But we also start paying some of the price. Sékou takes a bullet in the brain on one of our jobs. Dramane and I get arrested and then released. I have a bad feeling, a sense of unease. Visions. Visions of a country at war. Scenes of rape. And Dramane sinking down and down into substance abuse and paranoia. I'm going to have to get rid of him.

Not long after that, I meet Assitan. She may not be the prettiest girl I've been to bed with, but her dad was once high up in the Malian army. I thought that might come in useful one day. And I wasn't wrong. When our drug business runs up against a hitch after our contact in Guinea gets arrested, it's Assitan's father who gets me back on track. He introduces me to some army contacts who can take over transport of the drugs to Algeria, while all I have to do at my end is handle sourcing the merchandise from Latin America, directly by plane onto Mali territory.
I can't tell you how much money I'm making. Today, I can at last say: I've got it all. That's it. At last I exist in other people's eyes. I've even become like them. To the point where now I detest myself as much as I used to detest them. I realize now just how appalling my idea of happiness was: I was confusing it with pleasure.

Director''s note

At the root of this project were the intention to face up to the issue of drug trafficking in Mali and the desire to draw attention to the power of attraction of the drug trade over a population facing all kinds of problems. It was also an opportunity to portray one model of society. A model against which one trainee sotrama driver - an indignado? - rebelled. His chosen way of expressing that rebellion was to become a criminal. My idea was to follow him on his path and to observe how a claim for justice could be transposed into yet more injustice and disorder. It was only a fictional account.
And then came the 22nd of March. A very real day.
On that day it was not the sotrama trainees who revolted, it was soldiers - the "indignados of Kati", as they became known. They, too, were claiming more justice - high-ranking officers in the army were supposedly involved in the drugs trade, getting rich while the lower ranks were sent north to fight the rebellion. They improvised a coup d'état whose indirect consequences were far-reaching upheavals. The country was cut in two, hundreds of thousands of people were trapped, and desolation set in, everywhere. Since then, injustice and disorder are not just words any more, but part of our everyday lives.
So Ladji Nyè could no longer be a film anticipating social trends as I had thought of it only a short while before. Instead it has become a film through which I take stock of the current situation in Mali and in which I attempt to work my way back to a version of "how we got into this mess".

Daouda Coulibaly

Based on
Original screenplay

YEAR 2016
GENRE Thriller
COUNTRY France, Sénégal
LANGUAGE French, some Bambara

Daouda Coulibaly

Ibrahim Koma (The Crocodile Of Botswanga, Asphalt Playground)
Inna Modja
Habib Dembélé (Bamako)

Pierre Milon (Don't Tell Me The Boy was Mad, The Snows Of Kilimandjaro, The Class, Heading South)

Julien Leloup (Standing Tall, On My Way)

Eric Névé for LA CHAUVE SOURIS (Female Agents, Dobermann)
Oumar Sy for ASTOU FILMS (The Pirogue)

Shooting places

Shooting start date

Expected completion date

Production status
Writing / Development

170'000 Euro

Financing in place
10'000 Euro

French Release: 14 JUN 2017
Distributor : New Story (Paris

FESPACO - Best Actor Award, for Ibrahima Koma (2017)
Festival International du Film d'Amiens - Prix du public (2016)
Festival International du Film policier de Beaune - Compétition Sang Neuf (2017)
Namur Film Festival 2016 - Belgian Premiere
Filmfest Hamburg 2016, Germany
Angoulême Film Festival 2016 - European Premiere
41th Toronto International Film Festival (Discovery - 2016): World Premiere


Mali · Colore · 96'

Daouda Coulibaly


Der 20-jährige Ladji ist Busfahrer in der malischen Hauptstadt Bamako und arbeitet hart, um seine Schwester Aminata aus der Prostitution zu holen. Als ihm eine Beförderung verwehrt wird, wendet er sich an einen befreundeten Drogendealer, der ihm noch einen Gefallen schuldet. Unterstützt von seinen Freunden beginnt Ladji, kiloweise Kokain von Guinea nach Mali zu schmuggeln und steigt rasch zur Topgröße im regionalen Drogenhandel auf. Er kann sich nun alles leisten, Frauen und ein Leben, von dem er bisher nicht einmal zu träumen gewagt hat. Doch der Preis, den Ladji dafür zu zahlen hat, ist hoch. „Wùlu ist der malische Scarface."(Le Point)
Website: indiesales.eu/wulu

Mali, Frankreich, Senegal 2016 | 95 min | OmeU | Farbe | FF 2016

Produzent: Eric Névé & Oumar Sy

Darsteller: Ibrahim Koma, Inna Modja, Habib Dembele

Regie: Daouda Coulibaly
Drehbuch: Daouda Coulibaly
Musik: Eric Neveux
Kamera: Pierre Milon
Schnitt: Julien Leloup

Originaltitel: Wùlu
Sektion: Voilà!
Originalsprache: Bambara, Französisch
Filmtyp: Spielfilm

Format: dcp encrypted

Weltvertrieb: Indie Sales
Produktion: La Chauve-Souris
Kontakt: Martin Gondre, Indie Sales: festival@indiesales.eu



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