Love has its reasons in Banel & Adama, by Ramata-Toulaye Sy


Ramata-Toulaye Sy is In Competition with Banel E Adama (Banel & Adama), her first feature film. A formidable challenge for the young Franco-Senegalese writer and director, who is making her debut at Cannes with a romantic drama about the love of a couple in the face of social conventions.

Banel (Khady Mane) and Adama (Mamadou Diallo) are very much in love. They have never left their village in the north of Senegal. But their passion is in conflict with the age-old traditions of their community. The balance is upset when Adama refuses to accept his responsibilities as a future chief, which causes dissension within the village council.

Shot entirely in the Pulaar language, a variant of Fulah, Banel E Adama (Banel & Adama) is a total immersion into the traditional ambience of northern Senegal, where Ramata-Toulaye Sy had already shot for her first short film, Astel. To add more realism to the narration of her new, and debut, feature film, the director chose to cast non-professional actors from the region.

With this story of forbidden love that has the feel of a fable, it’s the reality of the weight of tradition that is examined by the filmmaker, who graduated from the FEMIS film school in 2015. This young couple’s struggle for freedom is brilliantly illustrated by gorgeous shots from Amine Berrada. The Moroccon cinematographer also worked on Zineb Wakrim’s Ayyur (Moon) (2023), and Jean Douchet, l’Enfant Agité (Restless Child) (2017), two films screened at Cannes.