In this documentary, African film director Jean-Marie Teno compares expressions of popular culture in a poor district of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Sacred Places is a portrait of two people: Bouba, the owner of a cine-club that screens cheap DVDs of mostly action films for audiences of 10 to 15 people, and djembe player Jules Cesar, who says his instrument is "cinema's big brother" because it held Africans under its spell long before the arrival of film.
The cine-club is having trouble staying afloat, and the fact that its activities are illegal doesn't help: the DVDs come from a normal video store and are only intended for home use. But Bouba emphasizes the importance of cinema to his impoverished customers: cinema is a relief from the drudgery of daily life and brings people in contact with another world.
It is not without reason that Teno chose to make a dual portrait. Whereas the local film culture is beset by the complexities of distribution problems, failing equipment, and rights issues, djembe culture is simple and direct. This is an inspiring and entertaining reflection on the future of African cinema.
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