Yeelen (Bambara for "brightness"/"light") is a 1987 Malian film directed by Souleymane Cissé. It is filmed in the Bambara and Fula languages, and is based on a legend told by the Bambara people. Though the era is undefined, it is presumably set in the 13th century in the Mali Empire and is a heroic quest narrative featuring magic and precognition.
It stars Issiaka Kane as Nianankoro, a young African man with magical powers,who journeys to his uncle to request help in fighting his sorcerer father. Niamanto Sanogo plays Niankoro's father, who is tracking his son through the Bambara, Fulani and Dogon lands of West Africa using a magical wooden post to guide him.
Yeelen was met with wide critical success, and was awarded the Jury Prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Golden Palm award for the same year.
HOW TO VIEW: The film is available for free on Kanopy HERE and Criterion. Mubi has it as 3.99 rental.