An older woman sitting near pottery vessels in the desert with her eyes closed and hands on her lap, facing upalr

Tree of Blood
(Po di Sangui)

Flora Gomes in Person
Screening on Film
$15 Special Event Tickets
Directed by Flora Gomes.
With Ramiro Naka, Edna Evora, Bia Gomes.
France/Guinea-Bissau/Tunisia/Portugal, 1996, 35mm, color, 95 min.
Kriolu with English subtitles.
Print source: Cinémathèque Française

One of the high points of Nineties African cinema, Po di Sangui is a mesmerizing trance film set in a rural village in Guinea-Bissau where trees are understood as life forces linked to the children whose birth they are meant to sanctify. A charismatic drifter returns to the village only to discover that his twin brother has just died, together with his tree, perhaps because of a cursed disease threatening to do untold harm. A poetic battle is set into motion between the forces of nature and the collective will and belief of the villagers, led by the local soothsayer. Like Cissé’s YeelenPo di Sangui is a film that embraces the folkloric imagination of a distinctly local African place, here rural Guineau-Bissau, while refusing to provide any full explanation of the traditions and mythology cinematically expanded. Like Cissé’s film as well, Po di Sangui seems to offer an ecological parable about an unbalanced world where the deteriorated relationship between Human and Nature urgently needs to be corrected and where the myth and magic, and the power of cinema to conjure both, may seem to offer the only solution. – HG

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