Life on Earth

Also Known As: La Vie sur Terre
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Countries: France / Mali / Mauritania
Year: 1998
Running Time: 61 min.
Languages: Bambara / French

On New Year’s Eve in the year 2000, Sissako returns to Sokolo, his father’s village in Mali. The echo of the celebrations for the end of the century arrives via the radio, which, together with the telephone, is the only opening on the outside world. Sissako cycles around the alleyways, the squares, and into the fields where he comes across a young girl who is also passing through; a subtle playful relationship grows between them. Meanwhile, in the village, life goes on peacefully and unchanged as a new millennium arrives.

About the Director

Abderrahmane Sissako

Biography: Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Kiffa, Mauritania, in 1961 and raised in Mali, his father’s homeland. When he returned to Mauritania in 1980, the emotional and financial difficulties of adjustment made him turn to literature and film. A study grant allowed him to attend the Institute of the University of Moscow. Le Jeu (1989), first presented as a graduation assignment, won the prize for best short at the Giornate del Cinema Africano of Perugia in 1991. In 1993, October was shown at Locarno and won prizes the world over. His film Waiting for Happiness was screened at Cannes 2002 and was winner of the FIPRESCI award for best film in the Un certain regard section. It was also shown at the New York Film Festival in 2002 and won the Grand Prize at FESPACO in 2003. The overtly political Bamako (2006) represents a move away from autobiography but the explicit subject of Bamako had been the implicit themes of his other films: the legacy of colonialism and the lopsided relationship between the first and third worlds.

Sissako is, along with Ousmane Sembène, Souleymane Cissé, Idrissa Ouedraogo and Djibril Diop Mambety, one of the few filmmakers from Sub-Saharan Africa to reach a measure of international influence. His 2014 film Timbuktu was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, garnered a 2015 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and swept the 2015 Cesar Awards in France winning seven awards, including Best Director and Best Film.

(Sources:
Through African Eyes – Dialogues with the Directors, BONETTI Mahen and REDDY Prerana (Editors), 2003, African Film Festival, Inc. and Printinfo JV LLC, Yerevan, Armenia, p.36
http://mubi.com/cast_members/11165)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Le Jeu (2003);
October (1994, 1997, 2003, 2013);
Africa DreamingSabriya [The Black and the White] (1998);
Rostov-Luanda (1998);
Life on Earth [La Vie sur Terre] (2013);
Heremakono [Waiting for Happiness] (2003);
Bamako (2007)
Timbuktu (2015).

Filmography:
Le Jeu (1989);
October (1993);
Molom, conte de Mongolie (1994);
Le Chameau et les Bâtons flottants (1994);
Le Passant (1995);
Africa DreamingSabriya [The Black and the White] (1997);
Rostov-Luanda (1997);
Life on Earth [La Vie sur Terre] (1998);
Heremakono [Waiting for Happiness] (2002);
Bamako (2006);
8 – Tiya’s Dream (2008);
Stories on Human Rights – Dignity (2008);
L’Afrique vue par… [Africa Seen by…] – Une femme fâchée (2009);
Je vous souhaite la pluie (2010);
Timbuktu (2014).