Thoughts On: Yeelen (EOTWS)

Yeelen (EOTWS)

End Of The Week Shorts #31.1 extract: Yeelen (1987)



Yeelen (or Brightness) is often considered one of the strongest and uniquely-voiced pieces of world cinema - and it's easy to see why. 
Though this has some pacing issues around the elongated mid-section, Yeelen is a highly immersive projection of Mali mythology. In such, this narrative installs specific cultural symbols into universal tropes of mythology most will be familiar with: the story of a son confronting a patriarch, of establishing a family, of journeying into the wilderness in the name of a matriarch, of magic, prophecy and premonition with themes of birth, re-birth and fertility and tropes of the magical totem (often a sword, staff or piece of jewellery) and spiritual animals. This is then a film that is deeply embedded into its own culture, but nonetheless accessible and meaningful to anyone familiar with traditional narrative structure and conventions. Highly recommended for those interested in word cinema.

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