‘Today’ takes top prize at Africa’s largest film festival

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American hip hop musician and slam poet Saul Williams. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

OUAGADOUGOU—A French-Senegalese director’s film about a man who knows he will die at the end of the day took the top prize Saturday at Africa’s largest film festival, Fespaco in Burkina Faso.

“Aujourd’hui” (Today) by director Alain Gomis follows Satche, played by American hip hop musician and slam poet Saul Williams, on what he and those close to him somehow know will be the last day of his life.

The film took Fespaco’s top prize, the Yennenga Etalon d’Or, at the closing ceremony of the festival’s 23rd edition before an audience of some 15,000 people in Burkina capital Ouagadougou’s main stadium.

Williams also won the best actor prize for his near-silent role in the film, which was an official selection at the Berlin 2012 film festival.

Second prize went to “Yema” by Algerian director Djamila Sahraoui, the story of a mother whose family is torn apart by an Islamist attack. Sahraoui both directed and starred in the film.

Nearly 170 films from all over the continent were shown during the week-long bi-annual festival, which was launched in 1969.

All the juries this year were presided by women, with the jury for the Etalon d’Or headed by French cinema legend Euzhan Palcy.

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