Twentysomething Bintou is an ambitious dressmaker from Burkina Faso. At the moment she makes a living crafting clothing for both African and European patrons, but dreams about one day becoming a famous seamstress with studios in Africa and Europe.
In many respects she lives a modern life whilst still in her traditional community. She is unmarried, something she acknowledges brings growing dishonour to her family, but she lives alone, which gives her the ability to fill orders and come and go as she pleases. But Bintou also has a young daughter, Christiane, who she says was conceived out of rape and currently lives in a government funded home, AMPO — AMPO cares for children whose parents cannot currently take care of them. Lively and clever, Christiane, stays with her mother regularly but clearly desires to be with her permanently. Bintou has found the living arrangements helpful, she has never raised her daughter, and she acknowledges that “I wonder if the child lived with me what would become of me?” She also worries that a man will not accept her and her child.
We watch as she becomes increasingly torn between her budding career and new responsibilities – Bintou’s daughter has outgrown the AMPO home and must now live with her mother for the first time. But is Bintou ready to be a full-time mother? Can she financially support a family of two? And what will the cost to herself and her daughter be?
In many ways Bintou’s concerns echo the anxieties women in Que Caramba es la Vida and Come Worry With Us also share; how can a woman live both a fulfilling artistic life and family life? And is it even possible?
Unfortunately much of the film lags — a good 20 minute chop would have served the narrative better – and at times the purpose of the film, besides merely watching a stranger’s life, is questionable. While Bintou is a beautiful girl with admirable ambitions and talent — one wishes the best for her and her sweet daughter — she is not quite interesting enough to watch for over an hour, and the documentary ultimately offers very little. Chaka V.