Synopsis by Judd Blaise
The mystery of a mute child lies at the center of African filmmaker Gaston Kabore's 1982 film Wend Kuuni (God's Gift), a fable-like drama set amongst the traditional villages of Burkina Faso in the days before industrialization. Discovering the child in an uninhabited area, a traveling peddler takes the young boy to the closest village. Though they do not recognize the boy, a local family chooses to shelter the child while the village chief seeks out the boy's parents. When this search is unsuccessful, the family chooses to adopt the boy, naming him Wend Kuuni -- "God's gift." He soon becomes part of the family, going to work in the fields as a shepherd and becoming friends with a young girl, Pongere. This idyll is disturbed, however, by tensions amongst one of the village families, as the increasingly violent conflict between a woman and her older husband help bring back memories of Wend Kuuni's past, including the tragic story of why he had been forced to leave his home village. Kabore uses his basic, archetypal tale to present an affectionate yet not idealized view of Africa's past and people.
adoption, amnesia, mute, peddler, roots [origins], search, shelter