Wùlu (2016) - full transcript

A young man begins trafficking cocaine and quickly becomes embroiled in the Malian drug ring.

In Bambara culture,

mentors teach the young

to be worthy members
of their communities.

In Ntomo society,

social training
consists of five stages:

In The Lion Stage
you learn where you come from.

The Toad Stage
teaches you where you're going.

The Bird Stage
teaches you what you are.

The Guinea Fowl Stage
places man within the cosmos.

The final stage
shows you your place in society.

This final stage
is called the Dog Stage (Wulu)

Bamako, June 2007

Give me the 500 Francs!
And all her money!

Apprentice, knock!
I'm coming!

Give me your plate.

We're coming.

Get in!

Kalaba, Coro Kabala, Cebani.

Come on, let's go.

Makan's on the way.


This is Birama.

The best ones
are the young girls

who don't take up
too much room.

Those carrying nothing,

no bags,

no baskets or kids,

are also good.

Avoid women with big bottoms.

They can make cost you
10% in lost fares.

Avoid taking
the handicapped and the elderly.

They slow us down.

Same with girls who are

too sexy.

They're distracting.

Have you worked here long?

Five years.

Five years doing this?

Did you dream of being a driver?

I wanted to own a minibus.

I don't know if I could stand
this job for five years.


Are you Ladji?

Hi. I'm Bouba.
We'll be working together.

But... are you a driver?

You annoy me!

Come on, the passengers
are waiting. Hurry up!

What's going on?

It's the boss' nephew...

You'll have to wait a little longer.

What's going on?

Ladji, what are you doing?

Hurry up, it's late!

I'm Ladji.
I'm here to see Driss.

I don't speak Bambara.

I'm Ladji.
I'm here to see Driss.

Wait here.

I need a job.

It's been ages.

Bad timing.
Come back later.

Later. I'm busy.

You don't have time?

I had time for you.

For a year.

Have you forgotten?

Give me your cell.

Call me in an hour.

Do you have a trustworthy partner?


Be here on Sunday, at 4:00 pm.

Hey, Driss!
Who is the car for? You?

Come this way.

Who are these two guys
you brought me?

Take this.


Hide the goods behind this plate.

You take marijuana.
Return with 2 kg of cocaine.



Officially, you're
transporting meat.

The documents
are at the slaughterhouses.

You load tomorrow before you go.

Ofué! Zol!

Unload at the butcher's, in Dakar.

They stamp the papers.

Then go to the fish market.

- Ladji.
- You find Ismaël.

Give him the cannabis.

He'll give you 2 kg
of coke, crates of fish,

and the paperwork.

Then head to Le Relais.

Take a room there.

If you want,
you can go see Lala.

Lala! Oh, Lala!

Early the next morning,

head to Bamako.

Get to Kidira. Cross the border
during the day, in heavy traffic.

Do you realize?

We'll earn more
in 3 or 4 trips a month

than a minister makes.


- Is everything OK?
- Yes.

- We're in Kaolack.
- OK.

- Call me once you cross the border.
- OK.

Minibus for Bamako
leaves in 5 minutes.

Bus for Bamako, in 5 minutes.

Bus for Bamako, in 5 minutes.

border between Senegal and Mali

Hands up!

Tell him to come out.

Get out!

It's OK. Don't worry.

Careful! He could be armed!

- Come on!
- Move!

Get him down!

- OK, get up!
- Get up!

Unload those boxes. Quick!

There's nothing, Chief.

Senegalese Customs



Let's go.

Good, you're here.

Please, sit down.

Go on.

My brother...

this our first time
working together.

But you should know

that we're daredevils
who fear nothing.

We denied him a raise.

So he tipped off Customs
to get us caught.

Anyways, you guys
did a perfect job.

I have your number.
I'll call you.

How about a beer or two?

- No, I'm seeing my sister.
- As you like.

We're going out for a nice steak.

Ladji, Ladji.

Let go of me!

Ladji, you'll pay for this!

My clothes!

You think I enjoy this?

You moron!


Do you know how much
money we have left?

Come on, answer!

Where's that from?

Ladji, tell me.

I moved some coke.

You want to return to jail?


Our money problems...

...are over.

Let go.

We're dropping Senegal.

I want you to go to Guinea.


Only if I can do it my way.

Lots of minibuses

shuttle between Mali and Guinea.

We'll be less noticeable
than with the company vans.

Customs agents
don't like to stop minibuses.

If we do this right,

we'll move a lot more of it,
fairly safely.


Or here.

How much does he want?

He said 10 million,
but I think he'll take 8.

What will the body work
on the van cost?

About 200,000 francs
will cover the cost.

- How's it going?
- We're on it.


The boss man!

Apprentice! Ready to roll?

I'm no apprentice.
We're partners!

He's an apprentice.

Madina Market.
Conakry, Guinea

Hand me my bag.

The blue suitcase, please.



- Catch!
- Wait!


Wait! Slow down!

We better hurry!

Come on! Move it!

Passengers waiting!

OK. Let's roll!

Ladji! We're ready!

border between Guinea and Mali


He's a peasant
who took me for his horse.

Here. Thank you.


For my tea.

So good, thanks.

What a pleasure.

- May God keep us together.
- Amen.


Over there.

- Hello?
- Yes.

Issiaka here.
The boss wants to see you.


I can't pay their prices.

You don't understand.

The service they offer
is inferior to ours.

We've been working
Abidjan for 45 years.

We know the field.

I have to go now.

We'll talk.
My best to your family.

How are you?

- How are you?
- Alright?

Everybody out.


you're the little rascal
nobody can beat.

You bring so much,
I have a lot more stock.

I'll have to start
delivering up north.

Thank you.

I'm giving you a 4X4.

The army checkpoints
will know you're transiting.

But the desert
may pose problems.

If you accept,

you and your friends will be armed.

Issiaka will give you
everything you need.



Jump over and open the door.

Here you go.

Be careful...

You can look now.

I don't have a license.

What do you think this is?

Here, give me that.

Look. This is how you do it.

Hello. Can I help you?

I'm looking for a purse.

Sorry. We don't sell purses.

This is an art boutique.

A luxury purse is art.

Let me.

- Hello.
- Hello.

What you say is partly true,

but, unlike luxury,
art is about more than money.

May I show you around?

Why not?

Every day,

for seven days.

Doufntza - 26 km

Timbuktu - 197 km

Stay there.

Let go of me!

You'll die out there!

Hurry up!

Move! Move!

Do you understand Bambara?

Get on the road. You'll see
someone in a black car.

His name is Issiaka.

Bring him here. Got that?

Go on.


We must go.

Face treatments.
Manicure, pedicure...

She even does
what the Europeans do...

- The bikini line?
- Yeah, that.

What did you say?

Of course, dear.
I'll give you her number.

One day,

a lion entered a plot

without anyone seeing him.

The place belonged
to Demba, the hunter.

The lion found himself
before a boy

who was watering the garden.

When he saw the lion,

the boy picked up a stone

and told the lion:

"Hey, what are you doing
at my father's house?

"Get out!

"Get out before I go get him
so he can kick your ass!

"You bum!"

Above the lion,

coiled around a tree branch,
was a serpent.

The serpent said:

"Great Lion!

"King of the Savanna,

"a boy speaks to you like that,

"and you do nothing?"

The lion turned his head

towards the serpent

and said:

"Well, serpent,

"as you can see,

"he's only a child.

"He doesn't know me."

Seeing that the lion was not
going away as he had asked,

the child got impatient

and said: "Very well!

"You asked for it!"

And he went into the house.

They heard him scream:




"There's a cat on our property.

"I can't chase him off."

The father ran outside.

Seeing the lion,

he froze

and then fainted.

The lion turned to the serpent:

"You see?

"He knows me."

We behaved
like blissfully naive children.


Don't fill it too much.

We're better off here
than with those shitty clients.

Don't you think?

As of this moment,

you may not eat or drink
anything. Got that?

Quickly now.

Swallow them right away.

I'll come pick you up
in an hour.


The boss wants to see you.

I'm on my way.

Wait here.

- Anne-Marie, how are you?
- Good.

Hey, little fishies!

Nice, Issiaka.

How are you, kids?


You're a kilo short.

Come here.

Only one person
could have done it.

- I'll reimburse it.
- No.

You know that's not the point.

So deal with it, or Issiaka will.



- So glad you could come.
- Hello.

Remember my brother Ladji?

How could I forget?

- See you in a bit, then.
- With pleasure.

Can you imagine having
a house like this?

It smells good even outside.

Do you know my daughter?

She was in the States.

She just came back,
and opened a beautiful boutique.

No, thanks.


You're Ladji, right?

My name is Alioun.

Your sister told me
you want to buy some land.

With the inflation here in Bamako,

that's the best thing
you can do right now.

Your new friends are great!

Are you OK?

Is everything alright?

- I'm OK.
- Oh...

I need to eat something.

- Excuse me.
- Please...

- I saw her eyeing you.
- Who?

Who? Assitan!

She couldn't stop
looking at you.

They have money to burn.

That buffet
must have cost a fortune.

I'd try to date her
if I were you.

She's cute, too.

Imagine that.

If you marry

a girl like that,

you'll never have to work again.

It's a great opportunity.

You could build a nice
house here.

You can even build a pool.
Large or small?

Oh, large. Why small?

We have enough money for it.

I trust you, ma'am.


Is this all you've done?

Bamako, December 24, 2008

Your party is great.

You look good like that.

- How are you?
- I wasn't making fun of you.

Good for you.
I'm an important person.

What time is it?

Almost noon.

I better go.

The situation in Guinea is turbulent.

The army attempted a coup d'état

after the death
of President Conté,

who had ruled for 24 years.

There has been no violence, so far,

but the international community
urges all sides

to seek a peaceful
democratic transition.

Jean-Yves Ferrand.

The shaky image
reflects the upheaval.

A captain announced by radio
that the government has been

replaced by a National Council
for Democracy and Progress.

Lansala Conté ruled
with an iron fist for 24 years.

Last year,
he suppressed a general strike

killing 200 people.
- Young people are protesting,

participating in an effort
to usher in change.

Fifty years of mistakes are history.

We will take our destiny
into our hands,

and, when the time is right,
we will act.

Did you spend all the money?

It's escalating.

There are ongoing negotiations
with the rebels in Conakry,

to keep the coup d'état
from becoming a civil war.

We have to be discreet.

- Everything's on hold.
- Let's do one last run.

I have 120 employees here.

I have a firm to run,
I have responsibilities.

I won't risk all this
just for your sake.

We played, we had fun.

When the risk is too high, you wait.

I need money.

How much?

As much as you can.

10,000 euros?

Is that all you can do?

I can do 15,000.

I'll give them to Issiaka.
Call him tomorrow.



Don't come back here.



Wow! A Yamaha.


That's just my brother.
He's a little off.

I'll call you, then.

You better.


How are you doing?

Having fun?

Shut up!

We must sell the house.

No way! We'll spend less.

We have no choice.

We have to sell it.

We still owe the workers money.

We won't sell it.

Even if we have to eat rocks.

With my contacts,
I could get a job

at a ministry, in government.

This is no time to panic.

Had you wooed Assitan,

you could have
asked her for money.

I'm not the one who whores.

I know.

I'm the whore.

But you've become a dog.

It took ages but you finally called.

I was busy.

Excuse me.
Are you ready to order?

- Just a few more minutes.
- Of course.

Why are you smiling?

The last time I went out
with someone was in the US.

Almost two years ago.

It seems weird.

Why did you come back?

For foreigners, the focus
is always on your national identity.

I felt like
I didn't know my own country.

- You find that ridiculous.
- No.


The statues...

Do they connect you
with your roots?

You're a Senufo, right?


Did you see that calao
behind you?

It tells me more about you
than you ever would.

Like what?

It told me that strong back

is your capacity to withstand
tests to protect your people.

It told me that big belly
is a sign of knowledge.

It's the knowledge you hide

and refuse to reveal
to indiscreet eyes.

It tells me that its long,
pointed beak

is the expression
of a man who only talks

to commit himself,
and who honors his word.

It told me that you
are a good man,

Senufo man.

They're interrogating people
and broadcasting everything.

Everyone's at risk.

I didn't want to take the risk.

I moved here to live in peace.

You could come live in Mali.

I know.

But I'm not unhappy here.

I thought about
what you asked me.

Here is my proposition.

Send the 400,000 dollars
to my supplier in Venezuela.

He sends us the goods.

Let's say he sends 700 kg.

I will get 100 kg of that.

That will be my payment.
The rest is yours.

Do the math.
You'll pay less than...

700 dollars per kilo.

You won't get that in Bogotá.

What about the 400,000 dollars?

You no longer work
with Jean-François...

I'll figure it out.


But choose your partners well.

Don't try to fuck me over.

Dad insists
that you stay for dinner.

- OK, with pleasure.
- Yes?

That requires a real husband...

- What a story.
- Absolutely.

You know,

that reminds me

of a joke a French
military man told me

during a training course.

He said,
"Don't write the idiots off..."

"With a little training,
they can make good soldiers."


would you like a nice cigar?

Won't you have dessert?

This house is a real paradise.

It's the fruit
of a whole lifetime's work.

Do you think
it could be yours one day?

Do you see yourself
in my place?

Using my silverware?

Sleeping in my bed?

You fuck my daughter.

I know who you are.

What you do, who you frequent.

So I want you out of here.

Is that clear?

I need to land a Cessna
loaded with 700 kg of coke.

Out of those 700 kg,

100 will go to pay
my intermediaries.

We will share the money

from the other 600.

I have a contact in Morocco

who will take the lot

for 15,000 euros per kilo.

That's 9 million euros,
minus bribes for al-Qaida, for us.

But I need to be sure

that I can land the plane

and then cross the country
to reach Algeria.

Al-Qaida will transport
the merchandise.

But the army must also cooperate.


I need 400,000 dollars.

Suppose I had 400,000 dollars
to bet in a poker game.

How do I know
I can trust you?

You investigated me.

You know you can trust me.

I'll think about it.

But, as for Assitan...

I don't want you
to see her anymore. Period.

Is that clear?

I just paid the school.

Yes, I talked to them
on the phone.

We'll go see you as soon
as the boy gets out.


- Let me know, then.
- Sure.

Northern Mali - March 16, 2009

They're here.

- All good?
- Good, how are you?

Here, here, here.

Let me see our laissez-passer.

Why didn't you sell
to the Moroccans?

- Don't you trust them?
- That's not it.

- What was your price?
- 15,000 euros/kg.

Do you know how much
a gram costs in the US?

120 dollars.

Don't you lose some
to the mules?

No, not me.

I have a sure-fire method.

Unaccompanied minors.

You know what this is?


travelling alone.

Nobody checks them.

I put the merchandise
around their waists

like this.

And they breeze right through.

Military Checkpoint - Gossi Route.


Car papers.

Our passes.

Open the trunk.


let them through.

I have to see what they have.

Let them through.
That's an order!

The trunk!


Arrest both of them.

What I have here

could finance 10 electoral campaigns.

Yes, General.


Send the reinforcements.

Yes, General.

Thank you.

How do we split all that?

Don't even think about it.

It will be a carnage.

You'll be the first to die.

This is our home, here!

Free them!

We make the law, here!

Free them!

- What's going on?
- They came to free us.

This is our home!

This week is busy.

Let's postpone it till next week.


Money goes to royalty!

Gold goes to royalty!


Saly, Senegal - April 18, 2009.

To you, my friend.

It's true.

It's true. I feel
really good here.

How was your trip to Paris?

Cocaine traffic
sowed discord in the army,

spawned rivalries
between communities,

and financed terrorists groups,

contributing to
the collapse of Mali in 2012.

Subtitles: ECLAIR