When low-level transit employee Ladji (powerfully played by Ibrahim Koma) misses out on a potentially lucrative promotion, his years of scraping by to support himself and his sister finally bring him to a breaking point. He uses his connections to earn money as a drug-runner, dangerous work for which he soon discovers he's well-suited. It's not long before Ladji is rising in the ranks of the criminal network, and his control on the situation quickly slips from his grasp as he becomes embroiled in conflicts that stretch from Mali's government all the way to Al Qaeda. Set in Mali's capital city of Bamako, the debut feature of director/writer Daouda Coulibaly is at once a bracing gangster film and an intricate political statement on the country's recent turmoil. — Mike Dougherty
Daouda Coulibaly is a Malian-French director. Praise for his first short film, A HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE (2009), brought him to Focus Features’ Africa First program. His follow-up short film, TINYE SO (2010), was inspired by the filmmaking of Ousmane Sembène. WÙLU is his feature debut.