Each year we at VSAFF presents one film from an African country that is not South African.  This year it’s Burkina Faso – a country with a well-developed and sophisticated film industry.

Borders is part road movie, part geography lesson, part examination of the political economy of West Africa, part thoughtful and complex feminist statement.  And it’s 100% entertaining, with fascinating characters, terrific acting and a compelling narrative.  Traveling from Dakar, Senegal, to Lagos, Nigeria to buy goods for her women’s association, Hadjara (spectacularly played by Amélie Mbaye) is an independent woman; she meets Emma, an Ivorian retailer experienced and toughened by 15 years of trading; Micha, a Nigerian returning to make up with her family at her sister’s wedding; and Sali, carrying out an errand for her fiancé. The quartet travels across many borders and must consistently deal with the men who stand in their way. With a backdrop of beautiful cinematography that showcases the exquisite landscape of West Africa, writer/director Apolline Traoré builds the film gradually from small experiences to large dramatic gestures, culminating in an epilogue of tremendous depth.

What the critics say…

“ …subtle melange of feminism and migration …”  Christina Okello – RFI 

“The insurmountable strength of these women is nothing short of breathtaking.”  Jo Allen-Eure – People’s World

“ … women who are fought by fate but have decided to fight.”  Léo Pajon – jeuneafrique

“While it is an everyday journey for the women, it is nonetheless fraught with peril, but through their friendship and solidarity, they find strength and resilience.” Pan African Film Festival


  • Best Narrative Feature, Pan African Film Festival – Los Angeles
  • Cedeao Award Best West African Film, Félix Houphouët-Boigny Award, Paul Robeson Award
  • FESPACO - Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - 2017
  • Opening Night Film - New York African Film Festival
Director: Apolline Traoré
Running time: 90 minutes - Feature
Language: French with subtitles
Rating: PG

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