Banel & Adama (2023) Movie Script

Every day, I hear them call to me
in their soft, pretty voices.
They plead and they persist.
But I do not respond.
I'm happy, papa, I'm having fun.
Then they become agitated and angry.
They no longer whisper. They accuse me.
Yes, I love.
As a woman can love.
We should go
if we want to dig before nightfall.
Yes, let's go.
Tell me a story.
It was a long time ago,
many years before now.
The best of times, so they say.
At that time lived Kounda,
one of my ancestors.
He had a gift,
being able to talk to sirens.
Kounda was always by the river.
He was a fine fisherman.
The sirens had taught him
the secrets of the river.
Each evening,
he brought back fish for dinner
and everyone ate
to their heart's content.
It was the best of times.
So they say.
But one day,
a girl drowned in the river.
Everybody accused the sirens
of luring her down.
The sirens,
furious and above all proud,
prohibited the villagers
from entering their waters.
Neither to fish, nor even to swim.
Kounda was terribly upset
and felt betrayed by his friends.
It was the worst of times, so they say.
So, to end this conflict, Kounda...
Is it a true story?
What do you mean?
It really happened?
I think so.
Who told you it?
Elder Abou Dia during my apprenticeship.
And you believe it?
There are no sirens.
I told you.
What do you see?
A trail of powder.
Lots of golden specks.
Like it's raining stars.
And what else?
There are no more stars.
They've disappeared.
It's like the fire of hell.
Banel & Adama
Can we dig earlier this afternoon?
Yes, that's a good idea.
- What?
- Auntie wants you.
We're coming.
You're beautiful.
Morning, mama.
Good morning.
Did you sleep well?
No, it was too hot.
I'll move your mosquito net outside.
- You wanted to see us?
- I need you today.
I want you to do laundry.
I need Banel's help with the cattle.
And I have no clothes to wash.
I want you to do my laundry.
You won't be alone, Adama.
Omar will go with you.
Do her laundry.
I'll be back soon, I promise.
Do your laundry
before the sun's too strong.
Yes, what are you waiting for?
Don't worry,
you'll be with Adama tonight.
Where are you going?
- I missed you.
- I missed you more.
- You've been waiting long?
- Yes!
It's two years now since Yero died,
widowing his spouse, Tn,
and second wife, Banel.
May God bless his good deeds.
Binta has lost her husband
and her eldest son, Yero,
but thanks to the Almighty
her younger son, Adama, is alive.
One year ago,
Adama fulfilled his Muslim duty
toward his older brother
by marrying Banel,
who was widowed very young.
May God bless his good deeds.
Since Yero passed away,
and until Adama
completed his apprenticeship,
Djibril, my son and Adama's cousin,
was acting village chief.
Since your father and brother
have passed,
you must now fulfill your duty
and become village chief.
He's only 19.
He's too young.
Age doesn't matter. Adama is a man.
His apprenticeship
with Abou Dia is now over.
He is ready.
I shall not be chief.
I don't want to be.
Djibril can continue.
We must abide by lineage.
It's your turn now. You have no choice.
I know but I refuse.
Adama, is your mind made up?
Whatever your choice,
being chief is in your blood.
You cannot change that.
You were right to tell them.
You, at least,
won't be forced into anything.
You're a man.
now I've told them,
we don't have to continue living here.
We're moving into the houses?
As soon as we dig them out, yes.
Just you and me, in our houses.
Banel and Adama.
Banel and Adama.
Yero Sall
When you go with the cattle,
take Djibril's, too.
He can't look after them.
Banel will help me.
No, not Banel.
Go with Omar.
Omar's slow and lazy.
Banel is more efficient.
She replaces Marie in the field.
Marie's pregnancy is difficult.
She needs rest.
We're short of women.
The field must be ready for the rains.
Why refuse to be chief?
I told you,
I don't want to be chief.
That's no reason.
I'm not papa.
I'm not Yero.
I want something else.
What else?
Banel and I are moving out.
How come?
We want our own house.
With our children, our herd of cattle.
The buried houses outside the village.
Banel put that idea in your head.
We've started digging
so we can move in.
Custom dictates, after apprenticeship,
only you can be chief.
My mind is made up, mama.
- Where are you going?
- This way.
They should've sealed the well.
If they'd sealed it,
Yero wouldn't have fallen and died.
You cannot die before your time,
nor not die
when your time comes.
Rain comes
Peace comes
If Allah wants
Peace comes
Rain comes
Peace comes
If Allah wants
Peace comes
Let's dig our field
Peace is coming
If Allah wants
Peace is coming
He's odd.
Always writing
even when he's not studying the Quran.
Like he's reading your mind
when he looks at you.
You have secrets?
Maybe he thinks he's a scribe angel.
A scribe angel?
Yes, they record
all our good and bad deeds.
Aren't they beautiful?
How much do you want?
We haven't seen you recently,
even though you live five minutes away.
Mama, I work from dawn until sundown.
It's only normal.
Still no child?
What for?
Racine, you should know the Quran
by heart now.
Age 9, I knew it
like the lines of my hand.
True, you have that gift,
but do you know its meaning?
Do you know its value?
Learning by heart
is pointless without understanding.
You're not wrong.
Unlucky you.
I'm the twin who inherited reason.
If you inherited reason,
what's left for me?
The heart.
Fine by me. You can keep reason.
You know you shouldn't sit like that.
It's not appropriate for a woman.
So I'll wear pants,
and it won't be a problem.
Heaven forbid!
How is Adama?
You don't look happy.
I can't herd cattle with him anymore.
I replace Marie in the field.
You know how much that annoys me.
It's not worth it.
You must help the women.
The rains are coming.
I hardly see Adama anymore!
The fields, that's only temporary.
Adama and you is for life.
Banel and Adama.
You're right, Racine.
Especially as
we'll move into our house soon.
Which house?
The ones outside the village.
Impossible. They're buried in sand.
We're digging them out. Didn't you know?
I knew you went digging.
I didn't think it was to live there.
I don't get it.
- You have problems at home?
- That's not it.
We want a house of our own.
A house of your own? What for?
To live our lives, just me and Adama.
- Because you're not living it now?
- No, not the one I want.
Banel, you can't go live there.
We can! The houses were uninhabited.
Don't you find that odd?
There's something bad over there.
You think it became like that overnight?
Covered in sand...
Banel, you can't move
into a cursed house.
That's nonsense!
In any case,
Adama's mama and uncles won't agree.
Who cares about them!
Our mind is made up.
Look at me.
Look at me!
Ain't I a woman?
Your father used to be
so scared of thunder.
One day, we were talking,
and the sky darkened.
The fright of his life!
When thunder began to rumble, he fled.
You must have run with him,
a scaredy-cat like you.
I'm not like your father.
I'm not scared of thunder.
The rains are late.
They should be here by now.
It's not the first time.
True. It will rain if Allah wills it.
If Allah wants.
the village elders will gather
and pray for rain.
They want you to come.
I don't get it.
Why do they want me there?
They don't know I won't be chief?
I'm going to marry.
Salif, from the Kane family.
He seems nice.
I hope we'll be as happy
as you and Adama.
I'm afraid.
I hardly know him.
Of course you do.
Here, they're all the same.
Why do you say that?
Omar is Djibril,
who is Yero,
who is Salif,
who is Ousmane,
who is Bilal,
who is Harouna.
Here, no man stands out
from the others.
They get up,
they go to work,
they come home,
they eat together,
and they go to bed.
Your only time with him
will be late in the bedroom,
where you won't talk to each other
because you'll have nothing to say.
And so it goes, every day,
because to them
you're just a woman.
And Adama?
Adama is different.
Not so sure.
If Yero hadn't died,
I'd be married to Adama.
As a girl, I was told I'd marry him.
Yes, but he's with me now
because the good Lord
gave us a second chance.
You're only married to Adama
because Yero died.
Adama did his Muslim duty.
You call that a chance?
How can you say that?
Don't you have a heart?
I didn't want to marry Yero.
I had no choice.
I consoled myself
with being under the same roof as Adama
and spending time with him.
I don't understand.
Despite my marriage to Yero,
we were always in love.
Quiet! I don't want to know.
So I was relieved when Yero died.
Adama and I
could be together at last, no hiding.
You are mad!
You cannot go against your destiny.
Your mama went away
To pick a tamarind for you
She ate it on the way back
I couldn't come to the houses.
I had to sit with the baby.
Sweet of you to mind her.
They gave me no choice.
Is it coming on well?
I've dug almost halfway down.
I even got a look inside.
Tell me what it's like.
I immediately knew
where we'd have our bedroom.
It's absolutely immense.
In the daytime,
the sunshine enters the house.
It is so vast and bright
that everything seems peaceful.
We'll be happy there.
Good evening.
Where've you been?
Meeting with the village elders.
Four cows have died of the heat.
I didn't know.
They all remarked on
your absence at prayers.
It was the first time
the village held prayers with no chief.
If you'd been there, as I asked,
God would have accepted our prayers
and the rains would have come.
Perhaps I should have gone.
Any man in the village can be chief.
It's not about your bloodline.
You've made your choice.
There is nothing anymore in the fields.
We should maybe move the herd
to other pastures.
No, those pastures are too far.
It will be too difficult
to take them there.
Where I take my cattle,
there's nothing either.
So if our pastures are all bare,
and the rain doesn't come,
it means we have to leave.
And go where?
Somewhere else.
I'm tired.
I had no choice but to kill it,
if only for the meat.
It was a very fragile cow.
With this sun beating down,
and no rain still,
it got weaker by the day.
It was inevitable.
God is great.
Why this sudden change in the weather?
Because people change.
Why go?
Our cattle must drink at night
or they'll die.
And me?
I need you, too.
It's not the same.
Who'll dig
if I have to stay here cooking,
doing laundry and babysitting,
while you're herding day and night?
Don't worry about the houses.
I'll dig as soon as I get time.
Now, the cattle are the priority.
I don't hear them anymore.
They have disappeared.
"Banel! Banel!"
they would implore,
in voices so sweet and sad.
It's strange, mama.
I am free.
Not for me. Go!
It's good.
You can tell Tn to serve the food.
Without Adama?
Who knows when he'll be home.
Maybe he'll stay with the herd.
We've lost half.
We can't lose the others.
Sit, my child. I want to talk to you.
It's almost a year
since you and Adama married.
And you're not yet pregnant.
So what?
Perhaps you're sick.
No, I'm fine.
So why no child?
Adama is all I need.
Adama must have a male heir
to maintain the lineage
of village chief.
He refused to be chief.
The lineage is broken.
Because you put ideas into his head
with those accursed houses.
We had the idea together.
You are a woman.
Yes, so what?
It's your duty
to give your husband children.
if you're childless,
Adama will take a second wife.
No, never!
Only God knows the future.
We know nothing.
It's getting critical.
There are no more fish in the river.
At market, no more oil or milk.
The warm wind
brings all these misfortunes.
What worries me is the lack of rain.
These things don't happen by chance.
Are you okay?
What are you doing here?
Write someplace else!
Go on, beat it!
Malik, come work next to me.
I'm going to bed.
It's weeks since you last dug.
You changed your mind
about the houses? Is that it?
I have no time.
I'm busy with the cattle.
So I'll go dig.
I don't want you to dig in this heat.
It's dangerous.
The sand is scorching.
When the rains come, I'll dig.
But there's a drought.
It might rain in one month or one year.
Then we'll wait.
You promised me.
I know.
Djibril, come quickly!
Bring your knife!
What's going on?
All the cows have died, except one.
Chop it up before the meat spoils.
Get up.
Travel safely, my son.
It's raining.
It's raining!
Get up, it's raining!
We ask God to welcome him.
May God bless him.
Let us recite
the surahs Al-Fatihah and Al-Ikhlas.
Follow me.
We must pray for another deceased.
We must show patience
and not buckle in the face of hardship.
Allah is testing us
to take us back onto the right path.
You killed him.
You're mad, going out in this sun.
What's wrong?
Nothing. Why isn't mama here?
She went to the Wanes' at dawn.
Their grandfather died.
I didn't know.
That makes four this week.
It's a warning.
So let's pray to God for rain.
Nobody else will die,
and we can start digging again.
- Banel?
- Yes?
Give up, please.
You can't live in those houses.
Look around you. It's all linked:
the dead,
the drought,
those houses, you and Adama.
That's nonsense.
I told you, I won't give up.
- Why?
- I cannot.
- Why not? Explain.
- Banel and Adama.
All you can say is Adama,
as if he were your prophet.
You always were jealous.
- Jealous of what?
- Him, me. Of us!
Nothing can make me jealous.
Banel, look at you.
I feel sorry for you.
Not a single friend, nobody.
When you're not with Adama, you're lost.
- Without him, you're nothing.
- Shut up!
You've changed.
And you haven't?
As my twin, you should be on my side.
And I thank God for giving me reason.
What's going on?
What's wrong with you?
Are you okay?
Just dig!
Quit staring at me! Dig!
You're a coward, not a man! Dig!
You promised to dig
to the very last grain of sand,
even if it cost you both hands.
But we're still stuck here.
I can't breathe in this house.
I can't live like them.
I can't.
I don't want children.
I don't.
If you knew what I did for you, for us.
So that we could be together.
What did you do?
Fate gave us a second chance.
We won't get another.
The drought...
the dead...
men leaving the village
because there is nothing for them here...
It may be a question of lineage.
What if it's all
because I refused to be chief?
You must first think of me and us,
and our houses.
Let them get by, we don't care.
I care.
I need you.
- Without you...
- We should have run far away.
When you told me
your father planned
for you to marry Yero,
I wanted us to go. Remember?
Forget all that.
Just remember, Banel and Adama.
You haven't forgotten?
I've forgotten.
You haven't. Say it...
Banel and Adama.
Your own niece...
Yero's daughter.
I warned you, didn't I?
You made the right decision.
I'm proud of you, my son.
I'm sorry.
I'm scared.
I'm scared, too.
Banel, what are you doing?
Come help us!
Back when we were kings,
masters of ourselves,
masters of the world,
Today, who are we?
Always the same evil.
And before my eyes
the world falls apart.
The End.
This was the story of