Yao (2018) - full transcript

A young boy from a rural Senegalese village goes to the capital Dakar to see his idol, French actor Seydou Tall.

Here we go!

Are you ready?

One two three!

A horse!


Happy birthday, Nathan.

You see? There are giraffes and zebras.

Nathan, enough.

Stop eating the sweets.

Look. We will sleep there.

There is a huge swimming pool, you see?

Enough of sweets.

Nathan, your mom is coming.


So, goodbye.


Come, quick.

Wait, Demba.

Let's put it here, come on!

Let's go!


Demba, wait!

I beat you, Demba.

I have something for you.

- No thanks. - It's a dogon mask.

The kanaga bird.

- It's ancestral! - Twelve thousand.

- No ... Seven thousand, then.
- Do you see the ears?

- Ten thousand.
- OK, we accept.

It is about a boy from the village of Yvelines.

Where is Yvelines?

His family migrated there from southern Senegal.

He grows up in Yvelines, full of dreams.

He wants to be a boxer or an ambassador.

But, for that, you have to go to university

and he does not like to study.

So he leaves school and begins his great adventure.

You better leave!

What are you doing, you bunch of rascals?

Are you waiting for the school to come to you?

Go away, you rascal!

You are going to see what is good!


The book!

Oumy, quick!

It's a race!

Let's review yesterday's lesson.

Who remembers what we did yesterday?

Yes? You.

We learned about the human body, teacher.

True. And today...

What are you going to do?

I'm going to sew it together.

But it is missing pages.

Demba is going to get paper and I'm going to write them.

Do you want to help us?

Find us at the tree tonight.

Breathing is a two-stroke cycle.

So we have the inspiration and ...?


And today, come on ...


Yao, take this package to Ms. Diallo.

- But Dad! - Don't argue!

You are always lost in those books.

Oumy, can you keep a secret?

Don't tell her!
Girls don't know how to keep secrets.

Yao, I'm not going to tell anyone.

What is the secret?

Seydou Tall is going to come to Dakar.
Demba and I are going to see him.

To get an autograph for the book.


We'll go tomorrow morning.

My cousin is going to put us in a truck.

And we also have money.

And the school?

Who cares about school? It's Seydou Tall!

He will give me acting advice.

And you, Yao?

I want to see him personally.

And get his autograph.

Do you think he's going to sign that thing?

Are you really going to Dakar?

It's me.

I'm coming down.

I tried to call you this morning. Nathan is sick.

What's wrong with him?

- Fever. - Is it high?


His temperature is very high.

It is just a reaction to the vaccine. He will be well.

I'm going to make this trip just to be with him.

I understand, but his ear hurts.

- He can't go. - What?

His ear hurts.

It must be otitis.

He cannot take a plane.

Do not do this to me.

Postpone the trip.

I can't, Laurence.

It's a shame.

A shame?

- Hello, Barry. May I? - Sure.

Thank you.

- Thank you. - You're welcome.

Let me go up to say goodbye.

He is sick and cannot travel. Period.


Stop it...


What a shame.

It was important.

Are trips important now?

- Of course. - Yeah?

You never traveled with us, but it is important now?

I am saying that it is a pity.

That's it. A pity.

You are a pity.



- Where's Demba? - He is coming.

You have the money?

Give it to me.


You go in that truck.

Wait! Demba has not arrived yet!


What happened?

I waited for you. Where were you?

Your cousin took the money. What are we going to do?

- You said you would come.
- Yao, it's too far. We can't go.

Are you afraid?

No, but you are crazy.


Tickets please!


Thank you.

Tickets please!

Thank you.

Tickets please!

- Welcome to Senegal. - Thank you.

- One question please! - He can't answer now.

- Selfie! - Sorry, not now.

The plane was late, we are very busy.

RTS is going to interview you at the festival.

Are we going to see you at the Biennale?

Sure, that's what I came for.

- Sorry, thanks for coming! - No photos!

Sorry, I didn't think there would be traffic problems.

JANUARY 11 - FEBRUARY 11, 2018


Thank you.

What are you doing here, thief?

Get out of here!

Go away!

Thank you.

Good morning.

I hope we don't find more traffic.

- You think it's possible?
- We are in Dakar.

Mr. Tall!

Can we take a photo?


Mr. Tall, can you sign the book for me?

He is not going to sign the book for you. Get out!


Please, Mr. Tall.


Let me see the book.

Come with me.

It is the goat's fault.

What goat?

Some toubabs gave Demba this book.

We left it under a tree and the goat ate it.

We catch the goat and try to repair the book.

- Where are you from?
- Kanel.

- Where is?
- 387 km from here.


Who did you come with?

Demba was coming with me, but it scared him.

So, I came alone. A man took me to the station.

I took a train.


And how do you go to your house?

- Are there night trains here?
- I don't know, Mr. Tall.

Where is your town?

Goodnight, Mister.

What do you want?

A pineapple "gazelle". With straw!

- Is it good?
- It's a matter of taste, sir.

I will have the same. With straw too.

- Very good. - Thank you.

You are a shy boy who knows exactly what he wants.

I am the opposite.

I'm going to autograph the book for you.

My name is Yao.

Big "Y", "a", "o".


Can you write "for Demba" too?

Big "D", "e", "m", "b", "a".

Thank you.

Did you copy the book?

You have nice handwriting.

The adventure part, on page 12.

"A man's adventure touches humanity".

All of humanity, yes.

- Do you know it by heart?
- Yes, from memory.

I am the son of a tailor too.

- Is your father a tailor? - Yeah

And I am a Tukulor, like you,
and I speak Pulaar, like you.

I understand Pulaar, but I don't speak it.

Don't you speak it?

No longer.

Like you, I love the sound of sewing machines.

It helps me to do my homework.

How will the exemplary student return home?

I'm going to hitchhike or take a train.

I can hide.

Don't you have school tomorrow?


And did you skip it today?

It's not important.

And what does your dad think?

You must tell him.

Give me your number.

My parents know.

And where are you going to sleep?

I don't know, Mr. Tall.

In a way, Mr. Seydou Tall,

you are the living symbol of the link.

Actors inspire us to dream of a better world.

You transform copper into gold,

words into laughter and tears.

In short, into poetry.

As President Senghor said:

"Poetry cannot perish.

Because if that happened, where would we find hope?"

Thank you.

With Mr. Tall!

Another admirer!

I must admit that I am envious.

Mr. Tall...

Can we take a photo please?

Thank you.

Great, thanks.

One more?

Thank you! Goodnight.

- Hello. - Hello.

- Where? - To the bus terminal.

Here we go.

Tell me, Mr. Tall.

They say that women pass out when you get to the studio.

It is true?


It's not true.

Goodbye, Mr. Tall. It was an honor to have met you.


Can you find your bus?

It was more difficult to find you than to find a bus.

What was your town called?

Kanel, Mr. Tall!


- You know it?
- I know it!

Shrimp fritters, women with flowers in their hair!

Can you take us there?

I know West Africa very well.
Timbuktu, Djenne, Lome, Acra, Kanel.

- Kanel! - Can we get there by tomorrow?

People call me bullet train!



I'll take you.

Can we postpone the return flight?

Brilliant! Thank you.

No, send it to me. I'll do it myself.


Tell me, boss ... Your dad is from here, right?

- How do you know? - You are famous, did you forget?

We read the newspaper here too.

- Where are your ancestors from?
- From a village called Tialaga.

Do you know it?


Shrimp fritters, women with flowers in their hair!

Where is it?

- I have no idea.
- Let's find it.

The country is great, but we are going to find it.

I have a flight tomorrow night.
We're just going to take him home.

But it is the land of your ancestors!

You have to know the land where you came from.



So you are Haalpulaar?


Hello cousin!

He is my cousin.

No problem.

It is very hot.

Are not you hot?


- Can you turn up the air conditioning?
- It's maxed out.

- Where does he go? There is nothing here.
- He goes.

To nowhere.

Where is he?

He went there.

Towards the trees.

Did he say anything?

He said to wait.

And to relax.

Do you think he will come back?



I have no idea.

Let's look for him.

Let's go.

There must be something around here.

Excuse me.

I'm looking for a taxi driver

who is dressed in something blue.

And he has something on his head.

They saw him?

What are they laughing at?

What are they saying?

I do not know.

Over there?

Thank you.

It's Seydou!

- Everything is ok, brother?
- No, it's not good at all.

She was here, I was here ...

It would be wrong not to pay a visit.

True, but now we must go.

Right, boss. After eating.


We waited an hour!
You just left without saying anything!

Brother, you are here, I am here.
The car is there.

Relax, we'll get there.

When? I have to be in Dakar tomorrow!

I already told you!
I have a flight at night!

- Stop worrying. - I can not!

Everything happens at the right time.

Look, that's the family of my second wife.

They cooked, they killed a sheep for us.

We can't go like this, it's wrong.

We will leave, but first we will eat.

You are our guest.

OK, I get it.

How much do you want?

Tell me! How much?

- I said I will take you. - Then take me!

- I am going. - So, let's go!

- When is your flight? - At 18:00.

Great, no problems.

Calm your heart, stop worrying so much.

What did he say?

- He has a car. - And he can go now?

No, I can't go.

But I can sell it to you. It is a French car.

You can travel around the country with your son.

He is not my son, but ...


Yao, what are they saying?

The driver is angry. They killed a sheep for us.


Show me your car.

Stay with your wife!

How much?

A thousand euros.

Eight hundred. That's all I have.

It's okay.

Great, thanks.

The tank is full.

Thank you.

Do you think they scammed me?

At least the tank is full.


Nothing, Mr. Tall.

Come on, tell me.

Are you upset, what's up?

That was wrong.

What was wrong?

To leave like this.

It was he who abandoned us!

Yes, but they cooked.

And you ran away.

387km from home.

That was not bad?

Stop it with that attitude.

Come on, put your belt on.

There is no belt.

Why did you say I'm not your son?

Because you are not.

And why is your son not here?

He got sick.

He stayed with the mother.

She's pretty?

And how is that your business?

Sorry, Mr. Tall.

Do you have sandwiches?


That's crazy!

Directly from prehistory!


Go get our sandwiches.

You're divorced?


We're separated.

We separated us.

It's an adult thing, don't worry.

- Do you love her? - Yes.

But sometimes, adults get separated even so.

And Nathan lives with his mom?

How do you know his name?

It's in the book, I read the book.

Yes, he lives with mom and with me too.

Half and half?

Plus alternate weekends.

Thank you.

Half and half.

He lives with mom, but sees me on alternate weekends.

Why alternates?

What is this interrogation?

Do you want to be a police officer or something?

I have friends who want to be police.

But not me.

If I tell you about my dream, you can't laugh.

- Tell me. - My dream is the "Mars 1" project.

What is that?

- You don't know it? - No.

They are going to take humans to Mars in 2025.

They will live there and will never return.

Every two years, new astronauts will arrive.

200 thousand people applied.

They chose 30 and they are already in training.

So lucky.

What should I become?

Astronaut or diver?

When I read "20 000 Leagues Under the Sea",

I wanted to be a diver.

Either way.

They both wear special clothes.

It is true.

It is difficult to choose a life.

And I have never seen the sea.

Maybe I will be scared.


You are not afraid of anything.

- Being here is proof of that.
- You neither.

- True.
- Which book do you prefer?

"From the Earth to the Moon", "Twenty thousand leagues"

or "Journey to the center of the Earth"?

You know what?

I never read them.

- You never read Jules Verne?
- No.

- Where do you get the books?
- In the Nelson Mandela library.

Weren't there libraries when you were younger?

Of course.

But they were for girls.

If your friends saw you walking into one,
you were dead.

And, if you entered,
they threw you out for talking.

Even if you weren't talking.

If I don't become an astronaut or a diver,
I will write a book.

What are you going to write?

"Harry Potter".

They just did it.

African witchcraft schools are different.

It is true.

I have a question.


Why do you write more about your mom than about your dad?

My dad is very introverted.


I don't know, it's his decision.

Why did you never come to Senegal?

You never stop!

- You don't want to say it?
- I have nothing to say.


That's enough.

- Where are you going?
- To pee.

How about a pineapple "gazelle"?

Yes, nothing better than a pineapple "gazelle" with a straw.


What can I buy for Nathan?

I don't know.

Maybe a book?

He is only six years old.

If he were here, we could play together.

Do you want to see a picture of him?

Are you the clown?

No, it's not me.

Why not?

You pay a person to be a clown at parties.

Why was your son not smiling?

He's shy, I think that's why.

I'm also shy, you know?

You are shy?

You do it very well to be shy.

Did Nathan have two birthdays?

One could say so, yes.

At mom's party, was there a clown too?

No, there was a magician.

Yes I know.

You have to follow in the footsteps of your friends.

I would like to know which party he liked the most.

How about a t-shirt?

Do you have a child size?

Yes, made in Bamako. Good quality.

Which one do you like the most?


There is big size too.

- This?
- So you would have same shirts.

Is there a simpler one?


Can I see the little one?


I'm going to wear both.

- One for him too. - Good.

Which one do you want?

Thank you, Mr. Tall, but ...

I prefer this one.

It's okay.

Mr. Tall?

- Glad to have you as a customer.
- Thank you.

- How much is it?
- Five thousand.

Yao is a funny name.

Does it mean something?

Yes, "Thursday".


I was born on a Thursday and I'm a boy.

This is how it works in Togo.

My mom's dad is from there.

My full name is Yao Racine Tidjane Kane.

So tell me, Yao Racine Tidjane Kane ...

Why did you make this trip alone?

I am an actor, not an astronaut.

Who am I to a boy like you?

Do you remember my friend Demba, the one I told you about?

He wants to be an actor. He plays Scapin.

He is very good and wants to improve.

He wants advice from you on how to play Scapin.

And you?

The teacher says that I recite.

I don't know what to do with my hands.

I have no advice.

I inadvertently entered into this.

I imitated my dad's clients.

I noticed that they always did the same.

You can see many details observing people.

You have fun, you act like a fool,

you make your friends laugh ...
Then you fall in love with art.

That's it.

If you ask me how much I charge,

I will scratch your face!

I said nothing.

But you thought about it.

My name is Gloria.

And you?


You're not from here.

How do you know?

It's noticeable.

How is that?

I don't know, the shoes ...

The watch.

The nails!

You behave differently from the men here.

What are you doing in France?

I am an actor.


Do you work on TV?

You can tell me what you want.

I don't watch tv.

My thing is music.

You also dance well.

It's nothing.

We know how to shake a little.

But it's nothing.

These girls did not choose to be here.

Neither did I.

Where are you from?

From Mali.

It is a beautiful country,

but it's difficult there now.

Very complicated.

So, I moved.

Me, my guitar and my djembe.



The adventurous African woman!

Whenever I make money,

I send it to my mom.

For her and for my son.

Tell me,

are you staying here?


- In what room?
- I am not alone.

That is not right.

Of course! You did like this.

It is so.

It is a dance.

Move your hips like this.

And point to the person.

I'm not targeting anyone.

Give me five minutes.

A cabaret is looking for a singer.
I think I will try.

It's on your way.

You owe me at least that.

Yao, go back, please.

Let's go!

Your car is funny.

An artist who is hungry?

No problem, I like you anyway.

It's showing "full" since yesterday.

All together!

- Hello. - Hello.

Where are you going?

We are taking this young woman to town.

Car documents.

Give her money.


Your car is a mess. And it is clandestine.

Like everyone's car!

Do people pay?

It is part of their budget.

Baksheesh, a tip.

And you have to pay double.

- Why?
- Because you're white.

I am white?


You are not white, you are a frozen bonbon.

Does the car have a catalyst?

Actually, this car is on loan.

Open the trunk.

- Is your license French?
- Yes.

Did you come from France?

Yes, to spend a few days.

Colonization is already over.

We have laws here.

Catalyst is mandatory on all vehicles

weighing up to 3.5 tons and
with at least four wheels.

- Have a nice day.
- Thank you.

I paid, but I'm not a frozen bonbon.

Stop it.


- Hello?
- Hello.

- Who speaks? - My name is Yao.

- Can I speak to my dad?
- You are Nathan!

Your dad is busy.

Where is he?


Do you hear that girl?

- Do you think she sings well?
- No.

You're right.

She sings bad.

You should see her.


How is she?

She's the type to pull out his breasts to get attention.

Every story has one.

Like the sirens in "Odysseus".

You know?

I'll tell your dad to call you.

- Well bye.
- Goodbye.

Come to Paris with me.

To sing.

You have a beautiful voice.

I could help.

Empty promises.

I already heard them.

You don't know me.

What would I do in France?

I manage here.

Here we say:

"If you leave, who will take care of your field?"

- You don't have a field.
- How do you know?

And I have a son!

And you? Can you stay?

I also have a son.

Buy him a plane ticket.

OK, I will go

- Where?
- To see your audition.

You will be great, you will see. I'll help you.

- What?
- You will be famous.


Will you be my agent?

Will you manage my contracts?

Yes, big contracts. You will see.


You don't know Africa.

You don't know anything about music.

There are no contracts here.

You will teach me.

Sorry, Mr. Tall.

I forgot to tell you that your son called.

- When? - Earlier.

Damn! Wait...

What's going on?

You are jealous?
You want me only for you?

You are too small for beautiful women like me.

Hello, this is Laurence. I cannot attend now.

Please leave a message.

It's me and the voicemail came in again.

Nathan called me. Tell him everything is fine.

I'm going to take the plane


Soon I will be there.

- Yes sir? - Hello.

- Fill the tank, please. - Sure, sir.

This too.

- Do you accept a card? - Yeah

We can go?

Why are you so quiet?

Kanel, Kanel!


Kanel, Kanel!


I really wanted to take you home.

But it all went wrong.

I have to take a plane.

Are you going to look for Gloria?

I have to go home.

I get it.

Kanel, Kanel!

What time does the bus leave?
- What?

- When are are you leaving?
- When the bus is full.

You come?

Kanel, Kanel!

Do not go!

Step aside! I have to find my son!

Get out!


And your plane?

Let's go.

How about we see the sea?

Let's go!

It is like an endless lake.

It seems to be boiling.

As if a fire had been lit under it.

Here, look!


Let's go deeper.

- Here it comes. Every man for himself!
- No!

You can do it!

Move your arms like me.

Now you are going to swim.

Legs ... not bad.

Mr. Tall, are you asleep?

I am thinking of Nathan.

What about him?

Did you tell him?

- What?
- When you don't arrive,

Nathan is going to freak out.

Yao, go to sleep.

I can not.

And the crabs?

What about them?

Do they sleep at night?


Aren't they going to bite us?

Come here.

Snuggle up

Just relax.

I'm going to watch.

What are they saying?

Let's push the nets back.

And now?

Emperor fish in the sea!

Fried fish in the sea!

Smoked fish in the sea!

Is that so?

Sing for me.

Fried fish in the sea!

Dust on the road!

Sandstorm in the air!

There is no more pineapple "gazelle"!

A cheeky boy!

- A man who slept with Gloria!
- What?

- A man who never read Jules Verne!
- Please...

I read other things.


The gasoline ran out?

Is not that...

Look at the pedal.

The clutch cable must have come loose.

We no longer have a clutch!



Seydou Tall.

I'm fine.

He is glad that you are a Tukulor like him.

Are there shops around here?

He said the products come from Mauritania.

It is on the other side of the desert.

What did he say? I heard "Tialaga".

He is going to look for his family.

They go to the baptism of their nephew

in Tialaga.

Do you think there are many villages called Tialaga?

I do not know.



Thank you.

So. It's the clutch, isn't it, my friend?

The clutch.

The crane is coming.

Ibra is going to handle it. Ibra ...

It's me!


In the meantime,

It will be an honor to share the table and my house with you.

You are very kind, thanks.


If they cooked, we can't leave.

It would be wrong, right?


Where are you from?


You never came here?

Why would he have come? Leave him alone!

Let him rest.


Mauritania is on the other side.

160 meters from here.


Do you know a village called Tialaga?

Tialaga? Sure.

It's close, why?

My grandfather is buried there.

But perhaps there are many Tialagas.

Did your grandfather emigrate to France?

Yes, he went to Sochaux.

He worked for Peugeot.

Then they gave him money to go back home.

He died here.

The French came for them there, on the river.

They were young and dreamed of leaving.

My husband did like your grandfather.

He got on a boat and left.

Twenty years later,

I saw them come back

with the money they received to go home.

They had aged a lot!

And why did you never come?

My brothers came with my dad.

I was very young.

Then grandfather died.

So, I never met him.

And you think he doesn't know you either?

Ask him.


You are going to find out.

- Your car broke down here.
- Yeah

- And?
- I'm just saying it broke.

It broke because it is old and used.

Seydou's old car broke down here

because it was old and used.


You think like a white man.

You are very naive.

But the clutch broke, didn't it, Ibra?

Pay attention. She sees many things.

I'm interested.
What are you trying to tell me?

Why your car in particular?

That same day, thousands of old cars

they went all over the world without breaking.

So you decided

that the reason is the clutch.

Because the car is old.

The end.

Only that is where the story begins.

We have a saying:

"Destiny is God who travels incognito."

Something occurred to me.

Your grandfather made Peugeot cars.

The car that broke is a Peugeot.

Maybe your grandfather made it.

A point to think.

Look at the stars in silence.

It's okay?

You too?

What are you writing?

Let me see.

Show me



May the path of your ancestors continue to guide your path.

Now take the boy home and go back to yours too.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Is it your family's village?


Let's go?

Not now.

I'm going back to Nathan.


Are you sure he is famous?

He? Famous?

In France, they have de Gaulle,

and Zidane

and Seydou!

He is handsome!

He has a nice smile!

Is he married?

No need to ask, you can tell he's married.

I'm going to ask your wife

to step aside a little

so I can put at least part of my hip on the bed.

That's what the hip is for!



Salaam Alaikum, my friends. Listen!

This is Seydou Tall.

He brought Yao back.

Yao, go play with your friends.

Yao, we are listening.

I saw the sea.

Who else saw the sea?

Tell your friends what the sea is like.

It's like a river

but without margins.

Or like a very large lake.

An endless lake,


As if it had a fire lit under it.

The car broke down, it was hot out there.

We had no food or water.

Adults don't always know what to do.

But Seydou Tall knew what to do.

There were two trees. One for him, one for me.

They were small and the shadows too.

But it was enough.

We hoped to see the time pass.

The time here takes to pass.

It is not like the weather in France.

Seydou Tall learned that time passes slowly in the desert.

You are not in a hurry as it takes eternity.