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The title of the Burkina Faso-produced Yaaba translates to "Grandmother." That character, played by Fatimata Sanga, has been accused of witchcraft by her village. In fact, Sanga is a kindly, serene old woman, perhaps the wisest person in the community. Only Bila (Noufou Ouedraogo), a troubled and troublesome young boy, is respectful of her. Though he isn't related to her in any way, he regards her as his grandmother, and addresses her as such. When Bila's cousin, Nopoko (Roukietou Barry), falls ill, a medicine man insists that Yaaba has stolen the girl's soul. Though it… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Yaaba's power sneaks up on you. At first it seems as spare as the airy African Savannah where it unfolds. It's only with a little distance from its muted beauty that the plan of the film becomes clear."
‑ Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times
"A direct, affecting story of superstition and love that marks Ouedraogo as a talent to watch."
‑ , Time Out
"A wonderful portrait of Third World life that will leave you with a sense of real peace."
‑ John Minson, Empire Magazine
"Relying on deft mise-en-scene, Ouedraogo captures the village's unique rhythms with precision and wrests great emotional power from the simple story."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The locations are attractive, the performances are natural, and the details about local folkways are interesting, but the plot is a bit dull in spots."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The director Idrissa Ouedraogo, of Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) shapes this spare and resonant drama with perfect control."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"It isn't a fancy or melodramatic film, and it moves rather slowly, especially if you compare it with hyperactive Hollywood pictures. But it glows with gentleness and charm"
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Slow and intriguing."
‑ , Film4
"Ouedraogo films all this with great formality and stateliness of pace."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"Yaaba has its virtues, but the talent behind it is unformed."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"The touching fairy-tale pic has a polished lush look, and the naturalistic performances make it look convincingly realistic."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A striking, compelling treatise on human values by African filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo."
‑ Chris Hicks, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for Yaaba on Rotten Tomatoes