S. Pierre Yaméogo
Saint Pierre Yameogo © Olivier Barlet

S. Pierre Yaméogo - Wendemi (L'enfant du bon Dieu) restored by the Cinémathèque Afrique

For me, cinema is socio-educational. It is the best tool for information, it helps to reveal reality.

S. Pierre Yaméogo's cinema is deeply rooted in social criticism and is one of the most striking oeuvres in recent decades. On the occasion of the Lumière Festival, the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français has restored his film Wendemi (L'enfant du bon Dieu)

Published on 03/11/2022

5 min

Born in Koudougou in Burkina Faso in 1955, S. Pierre Yaméogo died in Ouagadougou in 2019. Having trained in national television, he continued his studies in France at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français and at the University of Paris VIII. After L'Oeuf silhouette (1984), Dunia (1984) was the first film he made in his own country. From then on, it would provide the raw material for most of his works, which are strongly rooted in the social reality of Burkina Faso. In this film, he already developed the theme of the gap between the urban elite and young people from the countryside, who are confronted with a lack of consideration. 

In 1991, Laafi (Tout va bien) was released in France and presented at the Cannes Film Festival, where two years later he received an award for Wendemi (l’enfant du bon Dieu), his greatest success. Through the fate of the orphan Wendemi and his wandering through a Burkinabe society that rejects him, S. Pierre Yaméogo paints an uncompromising portrait of a world fractured between different social classes. 

Known for his uncompromising attitude and political commitment, S. Pierre Yaméogo, despite his central status in the African film industry, experienced difficulties in producing and directing his films throughout his life. His film Silmandé -Tourbillon (1998) caused controversy with its portrayal of the Lebanese elite in Burkina Faso, and was the subject of numerous calls for a boycott. The filmmaker's relationship with the authorities in his country, and with the important Fespaco film festival in Ouagadougou, where his films have regularly been screened, will thus remain tinged with conflict for a long time. 

His final film, Bayiri, la patrie (2011), is testament to this: by crudely depicting the fate of Burkinabe refugees expelled from Côte d'Ivoire and discredited by the local authorities, he tackles a genuine taboo. The film was finally shown for the first time six years after its completion. 

A regular at international festivals, frequently invited and awarded at Cannes, S. Pierre Yaméogo always chose to remain anchored in the continent and in his country, as close as possible to the social and political causes that animate his work. A leading figure in African cinema, his work is still difficult to access. On the occasion of the Lumière Festival, the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français has therefore decided to restore his film Wendemi (L'enfant du bon Dieu). This outstanding work will thus be made available to researchers and programmers, both in France and internationally. By making S. Pierre Yaméogo's filmography, still little known outside Burkina Faso, more accessible, an important part of socially engaged African cinema can benefit from a new perspective. 

  • 1987


    Dunia, first film made in Burkina-Faso.

  • 1991


    Laafi (Tout va bien) selected for International Critics' Week at Cannes.

  • 1993


    Wendemi (L'enfant du bon Dieu), selected at Cannes, recently restored.

  • 2005


    Delwende (Lève-toi et marche), selected at Cannes for Un Certain Regard.

  • 2011


    Bayiri, la patrie, his final film.

  • 2022


    Restored by the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français, Wendemi, l’enfant du Bon Dieu is screened at the Festival Lumière in Lyon.

The Institut français

The Institut français, together with the Cinémathèque Afrique, offers a catalogue of over 1,600 African films from 1960 to the present day. Learn more about the Cinémathèque Afrique 


L'institut français, LAB