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Icarus Film
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Taxi to Timbuktu
Directed by Christopher Walker
Produced by Faction Films U.K.
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Alpha is a New York City taxi-driver. He comes from Batama, a village in the poorest region of Mali, a country among the poorest on earth. Since the drought of 1973, there has never been enough rain - the rivers have dried up, the animals have died, the trees are gone and the fields have turned to desert. The men of Batama have gone abroad, hoping to earn enough to keep the women and children alive.

Like Alpha, they started in France, where Africans were welcome to do the jobs native French wouldn't. But as France has fallen on hard times, the men have dispersed to New York and places as alien as Tokyo, where they work alongside Japanese in dry-cleaning, restaurants, and construction - and earn double the money they would in other cities.

But Batama faces catastrophe, and not everyone can go to Japan. "In the past," says Alpha, "we went abroad to keep the village alive. But today we are finding that abroad is 'closed'. And if 'abroad' is closed, then we are all closed."

"A fascinating portrait of people straddling worlds of barely imaginable contrast."—Independent (London)

"Superior... Recommended... an excellent job of comparing and contrasting life in Batama and abroad."—Educational Media Reviews Online

Certificate of Merit, 1995 Chicago Film Festival
2001 African Literature Association Conference Film Festival
  

51 minutes / color
Release: 1995
Copyright: 1994
Sale: $298

Subject areas:
Africa, Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Economic Sociology, Economics, Geography, Globalization, Mali, Migration, Multi-Cultural Studies, Sociology

Related Links:
The Films of Christopher Walker

Related Titles:
School of Babel: Welcome to a unique Parisian program for immigrant children from all over the world.

Living Memory: About Mali's ancient culture, and this culture's position in the country today. Exposes tensions in a society assailed by modernization, Islam and global tourism, yet confident that it will maintain its own distinctive character.

North-South.com: In West Africa many young women, who dream of escaping a life of misery by marrying a rich, white foreigner, surf the Internet for marriage proposals.

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