An Opera of the World
Manthia Diawara’s film is based on the African opera Bintou Were, a Sahel Opera, which recounts an eternal migration drama. The Bintou Were opera, filmed on location in Bamako, in 2007, serves as a mirror for Diawara to build an aesthetic and reflexive story, through song and dance, about the current and yet timeless drama of migration between North and South, and the ongoing refugee crises. The film ponders on the realities of cultural encounters through the concepts of métissage and hybridity. The success and limits of fusing African and European perspectives are tested by interlacing performances from the Bintou Were opera, past and present archival footage of migrations, classic European arias, and interviews with European and African intellectuals, artists and social activists – including Alexander Kluge, Fatou Diome, Nicole Lapierre and Richard Sennett.