... Souleymane Cissé was born in Bamako, Mali, in 1940 ... He was educated in Bamako and in Dakar, Senegal ... Cissé ... studied filmmaking at the State Institute of Cinema [Moscow] ... When Cissé returned to Mali he became the first director of SCINFOMA (Service Cinémato-graphique du Ministère de l'Information du Mali) ... where he made more than thirty newsreels and documentary films.
.. Cissé's feature films photographed in Mali are in the Bambara language ... DEN MUSO (THE YOUNG GIRL; 1974), Cissé's first feature film, is about a deaf-mute urban Muslim girl who becomes pregnant by one of her father's employees and is rejected by her family ... BAARA (WORK; 1978) ... is about a young porter who has come from the countryside to the city where he eventually finds work at a textile factory with an engineer whose ideas about labor organization are too democratic for his employer ... FINVE (THE WIND; 1982) ... is about love between two students whose parents, respectively a military governor and a traditional chief, disapprove of the relationship ... YEELEN (BRIGHTNESS; 1987) ... is based on oral tradition and includes a complete initiation ritual of the Komo secret society, which Malians know about but few have ever seen ... In 1987 Mali awarded Cissé the Chevalier du Mérit National for YEELEN.