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With ‘Banel & Adama,’ Ramata-Toulaye Sy Takes Her Place Among Cannes’ Top Names 

As one would expect, the films vying for the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival are highly acclaimed works, but only one represents a debut feature. ‘Banel & Adama’ by French-Senegalese director, Ramata-Toulaye Sy, tells the powerful story of a young African couple forced to choose between duty to others versus themselves. The film acutely interrogates the pressure strict traditions can wreak on individuals without wholly denigrating the culture of said system. We see how Banel and Adama move from loving couple to embittered partners as their confinement in the village takes hold. We witness the mounting tragedies that take place as symptomatic of their selfish desires. And yet, we know that good people placed in a hopeless situation may turn to unthinkable acts to escape their plight.