A golden life

A THREAD CALLED HOPE: THE STORY OF PROSPECTOR BOLO IN COMPETITION FOR GEX DOC

The second day of the Gex Doc section continues at Giffoni with Boubacar Sangare’s A GOLDEN LIFE. After the previous day’s screening, we quickly move from northern Europe to Africa to talk about a 16-year-old gold miner.

The second day of the Gex Doc section continues at Giffoni with Boubacar Sangare’s A GOLDEN LIFE. After the previous day’s screening, we quickly move from northern Europe to Africa to talk about a 16-year-old gold miner. This is a first feature film by the director, who has lived a similar existence to the protagonist Rasmané (but everyone calls him Bolo) in a mine in Burkina Faso with his brother. Bolo’s life is one of routine-the work, the cooking, the beans he does not want to share with anyone, fearing the onslaught of other comrades on the day’s only meal-but also one of hope. And that glow of hope hangs on a wire that in the mine, through a pulley, starts from the bowels of the earth, hundreds of meters deep, and brings him back to the surface. Gold is his hope: if he finds it, he turns and builds his own future. “Gold is shrouded in mystery,” repeat the young miners, “Finding it is also a matter of luck. Hope is always young but time passes inexorably and no one can stop its progress. When it passes, it transforms the physique, makes the features more pronounced. Bolo does not understand why he already has back pain despite being a boy. It’s as if time has crystallized: “I wash these underpants when I come out of the tunnel and I’ve been wearing them since I bought them.” And then the technical tips to avoid tearing clothes and getting hurt: “The rope has to be lowered slowly from the top to the depth of the tunnel, and we also have to smooth out the edges of the rock walls, otherwise we feel a lot of pain when we go down.” With the passage of time, not only her body changes but there is also a silent inner transformation: she gradually loses her childlike innocence. When Rasmané whom everyone calls Bolo finally obtains sacks of ore, he transports them to the “yaar,” the “town” built from scratch on the edge of the mines. There he meets Missa and Dramane, ages 12 and 13, two carter friends assigned to transport the ore from the prospectors. They accompany Rasmané through the various stages of processing the ore, until the long-awaited moment when the gold is transformed into money.

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