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Broken Cinema in Bamako


Alban Biaussat

Long gone are the balmy evenings passed watching films in raucous open-air theatres filled with hundreds of other people in equal entertainment of the screen before them. Following a rapid development after the country gained its independence from France in 1960 and until the end of the 1980s, the movie sector has endured unending crisis in Mali. Out of the fourteen district movie theatres visited in Bamako, only one cinema, the Babemba, still operates regularly on relatively stable grounds. It is the only one offering a varied and relatively contemporary program. The other cinemas can only offer basic viewing conditions in tired and worn buildings and play only an old stock of films, the most recent of which are thirty years old. Established by private French companies during the colonial period, then nationalized in the 1970s, the management of most of these cinemas fell under the responsibility of a commercially-driven State organization, OCINAM; a profitable business that could have reinvested into the film industry, it is believed to have forced fed other dwindling government institutions instead. Over forty cinemas were privatised at the beginning of 2000 and, according to contracts, not always honoured, buyers were required to maintain cinematographic activities. However several popular theatres, such as ABC, the Rex, the Soudan cinema or the Rio have suffered closure instead in order to make way for commercial spaces and shops. Other theatres still maintain their old characteristics but, abandoned due to lack of funding and a dearth of clients, remain empty and unused and cry out for renovation. The National Centre for Cinematography of Mali now intends to renovate the remaining public cinema theatres, for which it is now in charge, the El Hilal in Medina Coura, a disrict of Bamako being one of them. The intention now is to be able to solve the problem of a short supply of contemporary films. With most audience members having grown tired of the same old Kung Fu movies and American or Indian action films, pornographic productions appear to be the only way to guarantee a minimum audience to those theatres capable of showing DVDs, which are of course void of enforceable authors rights. But then, why not? For as some say, a more sustained watching reflects the sustained desire for cinema.


 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175420

Built over 20 years ago in the Daoudabougou district, the Manding Cinema only rarely publishes a movie programme, but it is still available for concerts.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175404

Mohammed Paul, sitting in the entrance to the Foula Ciné in the Para Djikoroni district, one of the four movie theaters belonging to his father, Félix Dialo, the local "memory" of the cinematographic adventure in Mali.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE EDITORIAL USAGE. WITH SIGNED OR ORAL MODEL/PROPERTY RELEASE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175408

The Kondjiri cinema in the Sabalibougou district belongs to Félix Dialo. Still regularly working, it shows two old movies for 300FCFA per evening.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175414

Closed 6 years ago, the theatre Manding in Daoudabougou now only operates during holidays.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175415

Common entrance to the Club and the Vox cinemas in the Bamako Coura district. The latter closed in 2006.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175405

Service provision has sharply deteriorated in the El Hilal cinema in the Médina Coura district. Still a state property, there are plans to rehabilitate it in the coming years.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175416

Once a property of the company Etablissements Adama Traoré, the Lux cinema in Badialan 2 has been bought up to be converted into a private primary school.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175406

The Reflet is a bar and a club offering music and rooms for prostitution. Installed on the premises of the Bassala cinema in the Banconi district, it has largely reshaped its internal space.

Bamako, Mali - 20/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175423

Metallux Industrie SARL, a medium-sized company producing windows and aluminium partitions, established its workshops and offices inside the walls of the former cinema Banankokoum in the Lafiabougou district.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175407

Closed in 2006, the Horoya cinema in the Banconi district is now totally closed. The owner, a woman living next door, intends to turn it into a nursery school.

Bamako, Mali - 20/11/2007

WIDE EDITORIAL USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175403

A movie space was recreated on the fifth floor of the building errected ito replace the Rio cinema in the Bagadadji district. Reclaimed by the financing bank, it has however never opened as such.

Bamako, Mali - 21/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175410

Piles of old rolls of Kung Fu, US and Indian action films as well as of overused porn movies, in the Kondjiri (Sabalibougou district).

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175411

Baba Sataré, the cameraman and guardian at the Manding cinema in Daoudabougou district, has no films to show anymore, besides porn rushes...

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175402

Projection of an old porn movie, “The hidden eyes of love”, late night show at the El Hilal theatre in the Medina Coura district.

Bamako, Mali - 22/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175409

A moody and air-conditioned theater, the Club in Bamako Coura district shows old kung fu and Indian films to kids in the morning, and porn movies in the evening.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175422

In charge of official cinema production and promotion, the Centre National de la Cinématographie du Mali has been given more recently the heavy responsability for running the remaining state-owned movie theatres and re-energize the sector.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175419

Definitely closed in early 2000s, Le Lux (in Badialan 2 district) has been bought by Yacouba Tenemakan Doumbia, a young unemployed man who intends to convert it into a private primary school.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175413

Mostly hosting life performances, the Cultural Palace in Badalabougou programmed 15 films in 2006. Owned by the Ministry of Culture, its offers a large and decent 3.500 seats theatre.

Bamako, Mali - 20/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175417

Madame Dianeba's family have built their home inside the premises of the Baqaina cinema in Maiabougou, a few years after its closure in the early 2000s, because of lack of customers.

Bamako, Mali - 20/11/2007

WIDE EDITORIAL USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175412

Meiga Amadou represents the company Etablissements Adama Traoré et Fils, which owns the Club in Bamako Coura. Built alongside the Vox, the Club closed in 2006 and lost its rooftop since.

Bamako, Mali - 19/11/2007

WIDE EDITORIAL USAGE. WITH SIGNED OR ORAL MODEL/PROPERTY RELEASE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175400

The cinema named after Baba Samgare in Sikorouni district has a dance floor and hosts weddings and drum concerts during the weekends. It still shows movies mostly during holdiays.

Bamako, Mali - 20/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.

 

Alban Biaussat / Picturetank BIA0175401

Old white porn at El Hilal theater in Medina Coura.

Bamako, Mali - 22/11/2007

WIDE USAGE. Infos : +33(0)143 15 63 53.



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