It’s 1962 and Mali has just gained its independence from France and established a socialist government. The youth of Bamako dance the twist to rock & roll music newly imported from the West and dream of political renewal. In this environment, a passionate and impetuous love affair evolves between two youths, Samba, an idealistic young socialist, and the spirited Lara who is running from an abusive arranged marriage. Through the filter of their affair, viewers witness the many tensions in the society at this little-known moment of social change: socialism and the introduction of communal farming (for village tax purposes) versus the powerful capitalist interests of the traders; women’s rights versus traditional arranged marriages where ‘rape does not exist within marriage’; the authority of the elders versus that of the new order. Uncoupled from Western ideas about the evils of Socialism, the film gives a voice to both sides: both systems are Western imports from a Malian point of view. The story was inspired by the photographs of 1960s Malian photographer Malick Sidibe and is nourished by the enthusiasm and naivety of youth set against the political realities of the time.