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Sia, le rêve du python (English title: Sia, The Dream of the Python) is a 2001 film by Burkina Fasomarker-based filmmaker Dani Kouyaté.


Kaya Maghan, the despotic king of Wagadou, follows the instructions of his priest by ordering the religious sacrifice to the Python God of Sia Yatabene, the virgin daughter of a notable family. A gift of gold equivalent to Sia’s weight is given to her family as compensation for surrendering their daughter for the sacrifice. However, Sia runs away and finds shelter in the home of a mad prophet who has railed against the king. The king orders his top general to locate Sia, but the general is conflicted since Sia was engaged to marry his nephew, Mamadi, who is in battle on behalf of the kingdom. Mamadi returns and joins his uncle to do battle against the Python God.

Production and release

The inspiration of Sia, le rêve du python is a seventh-century myth of the Wagadu people of Western Africa, which was adapted into the play La légende du Wagudu vue par Sia Yatabéré by Mauritanianmarker writer Moussa Diagana. He also adapted the screenplay with filmmaker Dani Kouyaté.

Sia, le rêve du python played at the 2001 Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), where it won the Special Jury Prize for a Feature Film.

In May 2002, the film had its U.S. theatrical premiere. Critical reaction was mostly positive. Dave Kehr, in the New York Times, praised Kouyate’s directing style as giving the film “a certain timeless quality,” though he noted its “measured pace and lack of dramatic inflection can also seem tedious.” Wilson Morales, writing for, praised the film’s technical aspects, stating that the film "is visually stunning, as its costumes and settings capture the essence of what Africa looked like in ancient times." Elizabeth Zimmer of the Village Voice praised the timeless nature of the film’s plot, observing that "the subtitled costume drama is set in a remote African empire before cell phones, guns, and the internal combustion engine, but the politics that thump through it are as timely as tomorrow."

Sia, le rêve du python was released in the U.S. on DVD in 2007 as a double-feature with another Burkinabe film, Tasuma, The Fighter.


  1. TV Guide Online review
  2. New York Times review (free subscriber access required)
  3. "Africa: Coveted Fespaco Prize Goes to Moroccan Director",, March 4, 2001
  4. review
  5. Village Voice review
  6. page for DVD release

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