Cissoko Aboubacar, Ismaila Mbaye, Badara Seck, Paulo Arrudadias, Chico Cesar, Agnese Ricchi, Mario Clefton, Dansoko Samoura, Fode Sory Camara, Ozina Brito, Francoise Kankindi, Bobo Diaw, Cesar Monteiro
Cristina Mantis, Cissoko Aboubacar
Officina Zoè, Ismaila Mbaye, Badara Seck, Omparty, Chico Cesar, Elie Kamano, Darling, Gianfranco Grisi, Nasodoble, Kidida, Alexandros Hahalis
HD - colour
festivals & awards:
The documentary film Redemption Song sings the song of redemption that the African Cissoko, dreams for his people and his land.
Having arrived in Italy, Cissoko, a war refugee, becomes aware of the startling number of deaths caught in the wake of his Mediterranean crossing, brothers who have perished and who continue to perish at sea while taking the same migration route. Indeed, Cissoko finds himself elaborating on these thoughts while housed in a temporary shelter for immigrants, where he and others requesting political asylum are waiting an indefinite amount of time for documents that will allow them to have a life. The escalation of our protagonist’s awareness reaches its culmination in his observation of the extreme precariousness and subjugation, in its various forms, that his immigrant brothers often experience in Europe, where their living conditions are markedly different from what they once dreamed.
Cissoko, therefore, decides to do something to assuage his tormented soul. He will attempt to convince his young brothers to not emigrate in search of false dreams, but to act only with a free mind, aware of the risks and real difficulties awaiting them. So it is with a small video camera that he begins to film what to his eyes is alarming. Later, upon returning to Africa, he will project the images in schools and villages, hoping to contribute to an awakening of his people. And although a lack of political action regarding the issues is evident, our protagonist’s cry for solutions is not a political appeal.
Cissoko is “virtually” accompanied on his voyage by a few artists and by the living memory of Thomas Sankara. These figures bolster the emotive tone and provide the necessary support for Cissoko to be able to reiterate over and over to his brothers his invitation to put an end to internal conflicts, to unite and to emancipate Africa, working for its progress while not abandoning it to Western chimera. Eventually, our protagonist’s quest will take him to Brazil to pay homage to the descendants of slaves who, thanks to the unity they have achieved, have kept their African origins alive.
At the core of the documentary lies the awareness that what is first and foremost necessary is an internal emancipation capable of inciting each individual to fight for their own true essence. Therefore, it is also the evocation of slavery that Redemption Song deals with, making itself spokesman of the black universe which, still today, is certainly the greatest victim of this injustice. Nonetheless, the film does not succumb to the lament of a people, but rather incites reaction and inventiveness in the personal effort to take back one’s own life.
In the unadorned simplicity of the Quilombos, the echo of the ancestors’ fight for their freedom is undoubtedly heard. And it is this echo that Cissoko listens to like a melody. A song that he wants Africa to hear.