African Actors From Mali Play Jacob, Esau, Dina and the Canaanites

Have you ever watched any of the Hollywood produced films about events in the Torah or Tanakh and just felt uncomfortable seeing obviously non-European people portrayed as and by Europeans or even Turks? If so, you have probably wished that there were movies about events in the Bible with characters that looked like the actual Israelites. This is the movie for you.

Genesis the Movie (1999, Cheick Oumar Sissoko)

Jacob has many kids. His favorite son was killed by animals (bible scholar Katy tells me he’s not really dead) so Jacob is in mourning. King Hamor’s son wants to marry Jacob’s daughter Dina (after kidnapping/raping her), but Jacob’s not responding to requests nor is he acknowledging any of his children. Meanwhile, his brother Esau is lurking with his warriors. Jacob’s sons kill all of Hamor’s people (including Dina’s would-be husband) and there’s gonna be a three-way showdown, but Jacob comes to his senses in time and his clan goes off to Egypt where they’ll presumably find his not-dead son.

Jacob and Esau movie Genesis or La Genese' tells the story of Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel and his family as well as the account of his truce with his brother Esau from whom he has stolen the birthright blessing of their father Isaac. Malian actors play the Israelites and Canaanites among them.

I also dug the flashback stories in the middle… and Jacob’s climactic nighttime battle with God. There’s lots more that I did not get. Found the movie hard to follow, but I think a passing familiarity with the bible (maybe the book of genesis) would’ve helped some. Was nice to watch anyway, with all the great desert locations, color-coordinated outfits and completely decent actors, a welcome change from the film-fest screeners that have become my constant sorrow.

Read more of Brandon’s review of La Genese’ or Genesis movie here.

Watch the movie Genesis here

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