Cheick Fantamady Camara | Guinea 2007 | 1h37m | 35mm | French and Malinke with English subtitles |15.
Africa in Motion screening: Sunday 2 November 2008, 6.00pm. Edinburgh Filmhouse. Visit www.africa-in-motion.org.uk
Guinean filmmaker Cheick Fantamady Camara's debut feature proposes a romantic twist on the recurrent tradition-versus-modernity theme of African cinema, as a lovestruck cartoonist learns the spirits have chosen him instead of his religious older brother to succeed his father as imam of Guinea's capital, Conakry.
BB works as a political cartoonist at a liberal newspaper, and is in love with his boss's talented computer-scientist daughter, Kesso. But his choice meets with stiff opposition from his strict Muslim father Karamako. Karamako's dream-inspired insistence that BB go to Saudi Arabia to study to become an imam, against the young man's wishes, further complicates the relationship.
Clouds over Conakry tackles some of the most controversial subjects in parts of the continent - such as religious extremism, political corruption and honour killings - head-on and has received plaudits all over the world for the unflinching way in which these problems are portrayed.
Camara never oversimplifies the emotional complexities of the situation, particularly the difficulty of remaining connected to the present and to a divided cultural heritage.