The story unfolds at the beginning of the 19th Century, in Africa, near the great bend of the Niger river. Wend Kuuni, an orphaned young man, is gripped by inner turmoil. Despite the affection of his foster family, his distress is amplified by the gaze of a hostile village community, who sees him as a cursed individual. The sudden illness of his adoptive sister, Pughneere, seems to confirm this malediction. Razugu, a village notable, hears of the existence of a healer with a magic potion. Upon his advice, in order to save his sister and silence the accusing tongues, Wend Kuuni sets out on an unpredictable voyage during which he will learn to know himself, humanity and the world...
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''I have always treated nature like a protagonist of the story I was telling. It is at once the physical context in which the characters develop and the screen on which they project their gaze and their consciousness of being. I never film nature for itself, and if the landscapes are beautiful, they are so only because they vibrate in tune with the inner feelings and thoughts of the characters. With "Budd Yam", I also have a great and long-standing attachment for many of the settings in which I shot. In fact, I almost unconsciously returned to where I spent my youth, which helped me get a better feel for nature, as my eye was fired by memory and recollections of adolescence.'' (Gaston Kaboré - Extract from the Press-kit)