Tilai – The Law (1990) (Burkina Faso: 1990)


Idrissa Ouédraogo

Cast list

Rasmane Ouédraogo : Saga

Ina Cissé : Nogma

Roukietou Barry : Kuilga

Assane Ouédraogo : Kougri

Sibidou Sidibé : Poko

Moumouni Ouédraogo : Tenga

Mariam Barry : Bore

Seydou Ouédraogo : Nomenaba

Mariam Ouédraogo : Koudpoko

Daouda Porgo : Porgo

Kogre Warma : Maiga

Mamadou Ganamé : Ganame


Director : Idrissa Ouédraogo

Writing credits : Idrissa Ouédraogo

Sound : Alix Comte, Dominique Hennequin

Production : Les Films de l’Avenir, Waka Films, Rhea Films


Saga returns to his village after a two-year absence. A lot has changed. His fiancée Nogma has become his father's second wife. Yet Saga and Nogma, still in love with each other, break the law of the community and have an affair. For the village, this is incest and Saga must die. Kougri, his own brother is appointed to kill him, but lets him escape. Saga hides out at an aunt's and is joined by Nogma.

Set in a pre-colonial African past, Tilai is about an illicit love affair and its consequences. Saga returns to his village after an extended absence to discover that his father has taken Nogma, Saga's promised bride, for himself. Still in love with each other, the two begin an affair, although it would be considered incestuous. In Burkina Faso, the concept of honour is essential in the structure of traditional societies, and it rules over any notion of family and blood. Ya tilaï, that is the law.

The film delicately portrays the complexities of traditional law and customs in a West African village, though it ultimately speaks to a universal humanity through its unconventional love story. Highly acclaimed Burkinabe director Idrissa Ouedraogo is regarded as one of the best-known African filmmakers internationally and a pioneer of West African cinema.


  • Caryn James. “Capturing the Moral Code of an African Village.” New York Times Review


Accolades :


  • Cannes Film Festival : Grand Prize
  • Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou : Grand Prize

Other movies from Burkina Faso made in

Title Country Year Director More infos
Adanggaman Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire 2001 Roger Gnoan M'bala
Sia, le rêve du Python Burkina Faso, Miscellaneous 2001 Dani Kouyaté
Moi Zaphira Burkina Faso 2013 Apolline Traoré
Le Testament Burkina Faso 2008 Apolline Traoré
Sous la Clarté de la Lune Burkina Faso 2004 Apolline Traoré
Kounandi Burkina Faso 2004 Apolline Traore
Monia Et Rama Burkina Faso 2002 Apolline Traoré
Femmes aux yeux ouverts Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal 1994 Anne-Laure Folly
Relou Burkina Faso 2000 Fanta Régina Nacro
Un Certain Martin Burkina Faso 1991 Fanta Regina Narco
Bintou Burkina Faso 2001 Fanta Régina Nacro
Gorel, ou le mil promis Burkina Faso 2001 Sékou Traoré
Dunia Burkina Faso 1987 Sékou Traoré
Yeelen(1987) Burkina Faso 1987 Souleymane Cissé
Moolaadé Burkina Faso 2004 Ousmane Sambene
Keita! L’héritage du griot Burkina Faso 1996 Dani Kouyaté
Dream of Dust Burkina Faso 2008 Laurent Salgues
YAABA(1989) Burkina Faso 1989 Idrissa Ouedraogo
Avril 15 (2012) Burkina Faso 2012 Ibrahim Olukunga
Le Beurre et l’Argent du Beurre (2007) (Documentary) Burkina Faso 2007 Alidou Badini, Philippe Baqué
Dreams of Dust (2006) Burkina Faso 2006 Laurent Salgues
Le Cri du Coeur (1994) Burkina Faso 1994 Idrissa Ouédraogo
Samba Traoré (1992) Burkina Faso 1992 Idrissa Ouédraogo
Tilai – The Law (1990) Burkina Faso 1990 Idrissa Ouédraogo
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