Eye of the Storm

Burkina Faso | 2015 | 101 minutes | Sékou Traoré

In a small African country, an idealistic lawyer reluctantly defends a rebel, and former child soldier, on trial for war crimes, and begins to understand the psychological ramifications and effects on adults of brainwashing youth for war.

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Based on case studies of former child soldiers, Sékou Traoré's feature finds a young lawyer, Emma Tou (Maimouna N'Diaye), reluctantly accepting to defend a recently captured fugitive in what her boss has dubbed "The Trial of the Century." Determined to ensure her defendant sees a fair trial amid the media circus, Emma visits the chilling Blackshouam Vila (brilliantly played by Fargass Assandé in a performance reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs) and works to earn his trust to break his self-imposed silence. As Vila, no longer a child but grown into a grizzled man of middle age, begins to share his history, Emma uncovers the psychological terrors of a youth brainwashed to commit crimes who has grown into a man vacillating between celebrating his atrocities and complaining of his horrific nightmares, haunted by his unfortunate victims. The further Emma digs, the more she finds that implicates government officials in facilitating Vila's murderous rampage. Setting the stage for a showdown in court, Emma is locked in a complicated search for truth in which hero and villain are only shades of gray. Traoré's filmmaking affords his actors an incredible showcase, keeping the tech simple but ratcheting up the tension to its final chilling image.

Director Biography
Sékou Traoré, a prolific filmmaker from Burkina Faso, is one of the three founders of the production company Sahelis Productions, established in 1992. He has worked on a number of films with the company, with experience not only as a director but also as a producer, production manager, and writer.

Sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

  • Original Language Title: L'oeil du cyclone
  • Director: Sékou Traoré
  • Principal Cast: Maïmouna N'Diaye, Fargass Assandé, Abidine Dioari, Issaka Sawadogo
  • Country: Burkina Faso, France
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Producer: Axel Guyot
  • Screenplay: Luis Marques, Christophe Lemoine
  • Cinematographers: Pascal Baillargeau
  • Editors: Isabelle Proust
  • Music: Thierry Malet
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Orange Studio