In addition to the villager stories, Sissako includes a few minutes of a TV show the natives are watching, a completely mystifying interlude that features Danny Glover as a cowboy. It has no relation to anything else presented in the film, and makes little sense on its own, seemingly serving only as a platform to get Glover’s name in the film.
While the film makes its case, the end result isn’t satisfying. There’s no payoff because the trial judgement has no impact, it serves solely as a way to inform the rest of the world of the dire African situation. Also, the village life isn’t particularly interesting, mostly serving as a distraction from the main proceedings rather than functioning as parables of the impact of the nation’s finances. The film may function as a starting point for further discussion on the nature and impact of world debt, but it simply doesn’t offer a very compelling viewing experience on its own.
Bamako is now playing in select markets.