“Banel is a woman who fights to exist and live her passion in total freedom”: Ramata-Toulaye Sy on Banel & Adama
Banel & Adama is the feature directorial debut for Senegalese screenwriter Ramata-Toulaye Sy, in competition at Cannes Film Festival 2023. The French-Malian-Senegalese romantic drama tells a story of love and passion, threatened by the societal norms that Adama and Babel’s relationship contravenes.
The Upcoming spoke with the director about this tragic love story set in northern Senegal, and its distinct references to iconic works like Romeo and Juliet, Lady Macbeth and Medea, as well as influences from magical realism and Maya Angelou’s poetry. Sy opened up about the trials and triumphs of working with a non-professional cast, detailing a five-month casting process, and the unique challenges of training the actors and working with them to delve into the complexities of their characters. Sy shared the complex conditions of the shoot, including extreme heat, early rains and the actors falling ill, but also highlighted the camaraderie built among the cast and crew. The director also touched on the film’s core themes: the place of women in contemporary society, climate change and individuality within a community. Lastly, she spoke about the honour of representing Africa and African cinema at Cannes and her hope for increasing representation of African films in future festivals.
Banel & Adama does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Banel & Adama here: