In the 14th century, long before West Africa was colonized by the French and the Germans, it had a wealthy and renowned ruler of its own, Mali's Kanga Mussa. Mussa's descendents, including the Grant Chief of Dogon (from Mali), enact several of the important roles in this film, which uses various techniques, including song and dance, to tell the story of Kanaga Mussa's remarkable pilgrimage to Mecca. In the story, a modern-day young man listens to a storyteller recount the tale, before he begins his own journey which retraces that of Musa. Many of the isolated spots he travels past are visually unchanged since that long-distant day, or bear their own deeply moving marks from the intervening years of history. Some of the place names ring with a power of their own, Djenne, Mofti, Marrakesh, Timbuktu, and Cairo. Finally, of course, he arrives at the fabled pilgrimage city of Mecca, which is vibrant with its own history.
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