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Tiou Dou Goun (Tomorrow's Village)

average rating is 4 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

May 29, 2024

Film Reviews
Tiou Dou Goun (Tomorrow's Village)
Directed by:
Gail Malbete
Written by:
Souleymane Gaye, Caroline Bassono, Adeline Dorothee Kando

Tiou Dou Goun (Tomorrow’s Village) is a simple yet well-measured piece of documentary filmmaking. This informative film is about an ecological campaign taking place in Burkina Faso, Africa – a country which the filmmakers describe as having been “plagued by political instability and security threats”. The individuals featured in the picture are on a mission both social and environmental: to create a resurgence of grown commodities and the market, making the surrounding community financially reliable.


The film, in great detail, documents the project’s evolution and this particular type of eco-political campaign is important to draw attention to. A mission such as this demonstrates the need for nature preservation; it also demonstrates how much an actively engaged, collaborative group can achieve – and how important that is, specifically in such a rural environment wherein families need more unique resources to thrive. Thus, to showcase such a venture in the form of a documentary feature is a greatly admirable, positive thing.


A lot of the documentary looks quite beautiful. There’s a consistent aesthetic at play based around the consistent use of a medium-to-long range prime lens (probably 85mm), with a fully open aperture. What this produces is a soft, compressed, cinematic look; although it occasionally results in an over-abundance of intense closeups which, in terms of docu-informative content, makes for the occasional distraction. - But I don’t wish to complain as it has a lovely, vibrant look; one which an audience will enjoy looking at. The use of widescreen is also a pleasant thing to see – particularly if you’re watching this film as a critic on something other than a cinema screen; you still get to sense that scope and grandeur.


The only explicit formal problem --not to sound like a broken record-- is the use of auto-focus... it is so so strange how many independent films are burdened with this problem. There’s a counterintuitive nature to it in that the cinematographer uses it because they do not have the crew or faculties to pay constant attention to manual focus apparatus, but in doing so accentuates this kind of studenty characteristic. As a documentarian, you should encourage oneself to learn focusing manually – to gain that invaluable muscle-memory. It differentiates a documentary that is great (which this one certainly is) to one that is masterful.


It’s a supremely educational watch. Not so much emotional or poetic in its structure or form, but fully given to the subject-matter and its practical complexities. A reservation some may have is that we don’t fully get a sense of the subjects’ emotional state, and this may prevent the spectator from entering into the piece on a deeper, internal level. We witness the nuances of the campaign and its interesting ups and downs; however, the greater universal/experiential message must be extrapolated by the audience for the film itself doesn’t present a thematic thread as such. It can be slightly didactic, at times overwhelming in terms of the density of spoken information. But it is wonderfully rich with the culture of its focus and leaves you wanting to learn even more about the country’s hardships and solutions.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Indie Feature Film, Documentary, World Cinema
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