Adanggaman (2000) - full transcript

In West Africa during the late 17th century, King Adanggaman leads a war against his neighboring tribes, ordering his soldiers to torch enemy villages, kill the elderly and capture the healthy tribesmen to sell to the European slave traders. When his village falls prey to one of Adanggaman's attacks, Ossei manages to escape, but his family is murdered except for his captured mother. Chasing after the soldiers in an effort to free her, Ossei is befriended by a fierce warrior named Naka.

Wandering procession,
lost in a mirage,

on the route of the slave caravans:

Mandingue, Arada, Bambara,
Iba, Ashanti, Fanti, Yorouba...

Moaning a song choked
by iron collars.

I am not a slave.

I am as free as my heart.

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Africa, Late 17th Century

Not here!

I want you! Please...

Not here!

We'll get caught.

I love you.

We'll get caught.

I must do my fishing.

But I want you...

I want you so badly.

A father has no right
to run his son's life!

A son must obey
and respect his father!

How can a boy dare

to contradict

the decisions of his father?

What is this world coming to?

Ossei and his father are fighting!


Ossei refuses to marry Adjo!

As long as I, your father N'Go,
am alive,

Adjb will be your wife,
and no other!

Marry that goddess yourself,

if you find her so worthy!

Hush, son. That s no way to speak
to your father.

I'm old enough
to use my own free will.

Free? You?

Dirty little scoundrel!

You dare to insult me?

Watch out!

Stop arguing.
It breaks my heart.

I'm sorry it upsets you.

But no one in the world
can make me marry

a girl I do not love.

Not today, not tomorrow,

you will not marry that slave girl.

Enough of your tyranny!

I'm telling you that I'm free
to choose the woman I want.

The bad blood of that slave
will not tarnish our noble blood.

Enough of your tiresome stories
of noble blood and slaves!

So you make the decisions now?

The world is changing, N'Go!
You must change, too!

Raise your son before
trying to change the world!

It is decided.

This marriage must be.

You have no choice.

Take this woman
to avoid shame and dishonor.

Let's hope he obeys.

The night will tell.

Ancient law must be respected.

Spirits protect us!

Peace be with us.

Magic fish...

Magic fish, the moon allows you
to breathe out of water.

Do you want to return
to the dark waters

to find your loved ones?

You will be happy once again.

Ossei is just a boy.

He is nothing compared to me.

I'll show him.

Try to think calmly.

Ossei is our only son.

Shut up! It's all your fault.

You raised him that way.

So now you're blaming me?

I did my share.
I worried more than enough.

I cannot sleep with his wife
for him, too!

If only that could calm you...

But tell me,

with all the women you've had

in your time...

No one forced them on you!

Stop your rambling, woman!

My authority is at stake.
And I swear on your life

that I will discipline him.

I must meet that Adjo.

That unforgettable Adjo...

That princess of the night...

That magnificent bride.

She annoys me.

And me?

I don't want her.
It's my father.

I love only you.

As long as I am in your arms,

I will be free.

Discipline is achieved
with the force of a big stick.

Let us be showered with peace.


All here belongs to Adanggaman!

He who cannot serve his empire
must die!

Mo Akassi, where are you?

It's Ossei. your son!

Mo Akassi!

Mo Akassi, where are you?

And you, my beloved?

Where are you?

It's me, Ossei!

Where's my mother?

Where's my mother
and my girlfriend?

Why did you abandon them?

They were so upset...

See what has happened!

Now all is ash and ruins.

What about your noble blood now?

Peace be with your soul.

The dead are sometimes more alive

than the living themselves.

Where are you?


Mo Akassi, where are you?

Move along! Hurry!

Lazy dogs!

Stinking beasts!

Go on!

Move it!

This way! Hurry!

Go back with the others!

Stinking beasts!

Move it!

You'll be beaten for this!

You dirty dogs!

Stay with the others!

How did you find me?

Don't move or they'll kill us.

You need food.

They killed your father.

I know.

Be careful...

Those women are bloodthirsty

and unstoppable.

Oh, my god!

Get the old woman!
I'll take care of him!

I'll get you!

You can't go anywhere!

You can't escape me!

I'll kill you!

I've got you now!

Finish it then!

Kill me!

No one can ignore the interests

of the royal council.

That each one of you

report to me

precisely, honestly...

and rigorously

from his respective territory.


chief of the Province
of 21 Oxbow Lakes...

Speak up! Now!

At your service...

King Adanggaman,

emperor of emperors.

I bring 100 bushels of corn,

100 of rice.

50 of sorghum,

1000 heads of cattle,

550 heads of sheep,
not to mention the chickens.


A fine and loyal servant!

The empire salutes you.


Your turn!

Most High Emperor,
I have collected

200 brown canaries
and 75 yellow ones.

The security of our borders
is absolute due to a recent victory.

The Turtle Eaters
have been annihilated.

No one was spared.

No man, no woman, no child.


No women, no men?

Then how will we populate
and enrich the kingdom?

Tell me how?

How will we build up the kingdom?


Do you ignore

that warfare procedure
and military strategy

are exclusively reserved
for the King?

Only Adanggaman captures slaves,

sells them and buys them.

Only I have that power!

Me alone!

Is that clear?

You will never behave
this way again.

Never again!

You are dismissed!

Is that understood?

Put him in chains!

You've been marked by the amazons.
Those killers!

That wound needs attention.

An amazon's dagger can be deadly.

Open your mouth!

Open your stinking mouth!

What's your name?

Leave him.

I know how to tame wild things.

Adanggaman, sir.
That's the unruly Kanga.

- Him?
- Yes.

Take him away.

Put him with those
chosen for the next shipment.

You! What's your name?

Slaves have no names.

Since you belong to me,

I shall give you a name.

You are now Botimo.

You know what that means?

It's a female monkey,

insatiable and wanting.
Does it please you?

Me, Botimo?


Me, insatiable?

You are insatiable!

Insatiable for gold!

Insatiable for injustice!

Insatiable for slaves!

You are Botimo!

Who are you to suppress
the lives and freedom of others?

Pretending you have the power
over life and death

by selling human lives!

You are the monkey Botimo.

You monkey around with the Whites
for rum and guns...

You are Botimo.

You sell your own flesh and blood.
You are selling your soul.

Botimo is you.

Take this cursed witch away!

Take her away!

Fear not.

I must stop the gangrene
from eating the flesh.

Adanggaman must be happy

with that bountiful hunt!

It brought him much.

What does he do
with the prisoners?

He sells the strongest

for the dreaded voyage
across the Ocean.

The weaker who would never survive

are sold to rich locals.

Who are they?

Whites from the other side
of the Ocean.

Some say life is better
as their slave.

Children under six and the sick
are just killed.

You must have someone very dear
among those poor souls.

My mother.

And your father?

He was killed.

Here, drink.

This potion is an ancient secret
of the royal healers.

It tastes like antelope blood.

Who are you?

I come from the land
of the Panther People.

I'm a hunter.

But I swear on my mother
that I was powerless alone

against those amazon warriors.

I defended myself

but they are
so bloodthirsty and strong!

It's not your fault.
No one could beat them.

Your scar will be proof
of your boldness.

What does that strange bird
on your arm represent?

Rest. You need it.



No! I am not a slave.

I am free!

No one is my master.

My heart is free.
My mind is free.

I am free!

As long as my mother

is in the hands of that tyrant,

my heart will never be at peace.

I want to take her place as prisoner

so that she can hold on to
the little dignity she has left.

My son,

the great civilizations knew
how to predict the future.

That's why the oracle
is so important.

This serious dilemma

means we must look to
the memory of the past.

Things look harsh.

When a storm uproots an iroko.
the ferns take over.

What do your shells say?

Very bad signs.

The death traders will get richer.

The whip will reign for a long time.

When the tire awakens from
the ashes. it will warm us no more.

My house is a tomb.

My village is a cemetery.

Death lurks around us.

Death? What death?

The death with the wicked smile.

We will suffer a humiliation
which no other people has known.

Despair weaves

an immense web around our lives.

It will wrap us like a shroud.

Here we are again

thrown into the depths of horror.


Who sent me this revolting rum?

Is that what the white kings drink?

That explains their paleness.

Tell that rogue that I have
proposals from the Dutch.

Do you understand?

I will send to his king,

my friend and colleague.

Is that clear?

Give me some anyway.

Send in that arrogant mule

and that tired old fool.

So you're the rebellious cock

who wants to become prisoner

in place of his mother?

Did you consider the risks

that your audacity now puts you in?

Look around you.

This world belongs to me.

If you have not realized,

mine is the only voice.

Everything alive

sprouts. grows

and breathes

in the shadow of my protection.

Shameless old man!

At your wise and reasonable age,

you travel at risk

with this silly youth

who wants to make trouble

and revolution in my kingdom.

My kingdom of peace,

justice and happiness!

It was never our intention

to create trouble
or incite revolution.

Shut up, old fool!

I have come to offer my freedom
in exchange for that of my mother.

Who said you were free?

You cannot bargain
with a freedom you do not have.

I am here of my own will.

I follow our traditions

which permit any man to offer
his life in place of a loved one

unjustly treated.

Your ignorance is very persistent.

I am the law here!

Traditions are made by me!

Your Majesty,

reconsider your decision.

Observe the courage
of this young man.

For the well-being and freedom
of his mother,

he braved hunger, thirst,
wild beasts,

sickness and death.

With all these virtues.

I have only to give up
my throne to him!

I've heard enough...

Send in that old harpy!

My god! My daughter!

My daughter,

that bird is the emblem
of our people...

the Sankofa.

Listen to its cry...

That means:

all must come to an end.

Naka, you are my only daughter.

After the death of your mother,

you are all that's left

that I cherish in this world!

It's me who you want, free my son.

I am insatiable for blood and power.

You said I was insatiable
for slaves!

And I said: you belong to me.

At present, your son is also part

of the goods that excite my whims.

Old Botimo, the insatiable witch!

Your threats, your blackmail.
and your perverse acts

cannot intimidate me!

We will see about that!

That rum gave me no pleasure at all.

I will give you
what you want the most:

a big and fat one.

Since you like it so much!

It takes a madman to punish
a madwoman!

Don't move, water! Give in to me!

Let me do it to you, water!

Stop making love to the water!
There are better ways.

Wait up! I'm coming!

Bring in that young man.

Put him with those for the Dutch,

and sell the old fool to a local.

Put them in chains!


You're my only daughter!

Some will never get over the shock.

What a curse!

Sometimes they cross loved ones
on this sad path.

Others, like myself,

search in vain the lost happiness
of our tormented lives.

It's not your fault.

My daughter, Naka,

started off differently.

She was taken away 15 years ago

by the slave hunters.

She was only 7 years old.

Look at what she has become:

a violent amazon.

Strange destinies, ours.

If not for your healing talents,
I would have died

from Naka s stab.

Then we meet at this odd crossroads.

My mother imprisoned,

you, a prisoner,

Naka taken and trained to kill,

and me, your friend, a slave.

You see,


the hell of chains...



Don't give up.

You have to fight.


Help me!


What are you doing to my mother?


You're at my mercy!

You monkey around with the Whites
for rum and guns.

You are Botimo.

You sell your own flesh and blood.
You are selling your soul.

Botimo is you.

Mine is the only voice.

Everything alive sprouts,
grows and breathes

in the shadow of my protection.

Get up! Get up!

Your attention, please!

Here are some specimens

from Adanggaman's stable.

They are well-fed, strong, healthy

and above all, well-trained

and tamed.



Dance in step!

As I already said,

this man is as strong as an ox.

In addition to his physical prowess,

he's an excellent field hand.

good with a machete.

Starting price: one sheep.

Bidding is now open.

Who'll start?

One cow!

A cow and a sheep!

A cow, a sheep and a goat!

Anyone else?

Going once... going twice...

Two cows,

two sheep,

two goats

and a basket of yams!


What do you want from me?

I have enough of you
and your kind!

Your violence, your chains
and your shackles!

Not a move or I'll put this
right through your heart!

Think about it.

I would have already killed you,
if I had wanted to.


Can't we put the past behind us?

We have escaped two horrors:

slavery and death.

Destroying each other
would only please our enemies.

Let's try to appreciate our freedom
and maybe find happiness.

I was an amazon warrior

and you, a prisoner.

It's true, I pursued your people.

But I wouldn't be here

if a cry of revolt
had not shot out of me.


You and your killers

took from me
that which was most precious.

I have only my freedom left.

No one can take that!

I ask nothing of you.

It's my turn to give you everything.

I am at your mercy now.

Kill me if you want.

I must find the house of my father,

the land in which my mother rests.

Only then can I return to who I am.

The real Naka waits for me there.

For the moment,
she is but a shadow.

The shadow of a frightened
little girl behind a door.

But that shadow, Naka...

It's you!

Not yet. I don't even know
the way to the house anymore.

I know where it is.
I will guide you.

Be careful!

Let me go!

Is that you?

You will live!

- Move it!
- Hurry!

Go on!

Move it!

You are a slave
and always will be!

On April 13, 1685


drunk with rum,

was captured and sold

by one of his aides.

He became a cook in St. Louis

under the name of Walter Brown.

Stricken with tubercutosis,

he died on November 21, 1698,

without a penny to his name.


was sold

to a rich plantation owner

and became John Stanford.

While in captivity,

he married a young slave

who bore him five children.

He died at the age of 70,

never having regained his status

as a free man.

To all the Africans
who suffered the iron collars

and chains of slavery.

And to the children and
grandchildren who bear their scars.

English Adaptation:
Richard Lormand

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