Programmed by Olivier Barlet
It was in October 2014 that the unimaginable happened… The people of Burkina Faso peacefully ousted Blaise Compaoré, the man who believed he was president for life. Rapper Serge Bambara, aka Smockey, was among the insurgents. He’s now seen as one of the architects of this political shift. “On a le temps pour nous” gives us a glimpse of the iconic rapper’s day-to-day life.
"On a le temps pour nous"…The title, from a song by Didier Awadi, reminds us that there are no lost battles, that every attempt paves the way for the future. The camera frames Smockey in close-up, focusing on the man, the activist, his questions, his thoughts and his commitments. He can’t sleep anymore. He’s obsessed with the insurrection, "slave to a cause" (Frantz Fanon). He’s aware of his responsibilities as an influencer of public opinion and a risk-taker, but not to send young people to the slaughterhouse. As a filmmaker, Katy Lena Ndiaye knows that counterpoint is more striking that reality. She puts the protests into perspective, introducing silences and parallel editing, echoing what Smockey says. She steps aside, giving the floor to this man, the judge and jury – not to seize power for himself but for the people to seize it. Because deep down, Smockey is a crisis in flesh and blood. He makes you think and challenges your perspective in a film with endless breaks in both the soundtrack and the image. His arguments aren’t truths but observations and hopes. He makes use of the need to see more clearly and to react – and so does the film, and this gives it its coherence, relevance and beauty.
Film critic and editor for Africultures