Sira, a young Fulani nomad, can hardly wait. She and her family are travelling to meet her groom. Sira is a strong and self-confident woman, her Muslim father trusts his daughter and has therefore agreed to a marriage between her and her childhood sweetheart Jean Sidi, a Christian. But on the way the family is attacked by Islamist terrorists, and the men are shot in cold blood. Cursing the attackers for their deed, Sira is kidnapped and raped – and left alone in the middle of the desert to face what would appear to be certain death. But Sira is a fighter and full of the will to live. She manages to make her way to where the terrorist camp is located and hides in a nearby cave where she holds out, undiscovered for months, planning her next steps.
Apolline Traoré’s film is set in the Sahel, a lawless war zone ruled by the men who have the most weapons, pick-up trucks and mobile phones. It tells the gripping story of a struggle for survival in which the female veil becomes an instrument of resistance, in a film that represents a feminist counterpoint to current reporting from the region.
by Apolline Traoré
with Nafissatou Cissé, Mike Danon, Lazare Minoungou, Nathalie Vairac, Ruth Werner, Abdramane Barry, Ildevert Meda, Oumou Ba, Seydou Diallo, Moïse Tiemtore
Burkina Faso / France / Germany / Senegal 2023 French, Fula 122’ Colour World premiere


  • Nafissatou Cissé (Sira)
  • Mike Danon (Moustapha)
  • Lazare Minoungou (Yere)
  • Nathalie Vairac (Aissatou)
  • Ruth Werner (Kemi)
  • Abdramane Barry (Jean Sidi)
  • Ildevert Meda (Karim)
  • Oumou Ba (Djamila)
  • Seydou Diallo (Tidiane)
  • Moïse Tiemtore (Faysal)


Director Apolline Traoré
Screenplay Apolline Traoré
Cinematography Nicolas Berteyac
Editing Sylvie Gadmer
Music Cyril Morin
Sound Design Vianney Aubé
Sound Alioune Mbow
Costumes Sidi Ouedraogo
Make-Up Soussaba Kouyaté
Assistant Director Aimé Parfait Bationo
Production Manager Sie Ahmed Kambou
Producers Apolline Traoré, Denis Cougnaud
Executive Producer Sidi Mohamed Cheiguer
Co-Producers Souleymane Kebe, Sarika Hemi Lakhani, Laurent Sicouri
Co-Production Sunuy Films Dakar
One Fine Day Films Berlin
Canal+ International Boulogne

Produced by

Les Films Selmon

Araucania Films

Apolline Traoré

The director from Burkina Faso studied at the Emerson College School of the Arts in Boston. Her graduation film The Price of Ignorance won the Jury Prize at the 2001 Fespaco Pan-African Film and Television Festival. Her short film Kounandi screened at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals in 2004. After working for several years in the independent film scene in Hollywood, in 2008 she decided to return to Burkino Faso where she has since made several feature films.

Filmography (selection)

2000 The Price of Ignorance; short film 2001 Burkinabé symbol; short film 2003 Kounandi; short film 2004 Under the Moonlight 2013 Me Zaphira 2017 Frontières 2019 Desrances 2021 Witba: A Woman Leader; documentary 2023 Sira

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023