Abdoulaye Ascofaré wrote and directed this 1997 Malian film, dedicated to his mother, about Zamiatou (Aminata Ousmane), mother of three and wife of a completely disabled husband in a poor desert settlement. Her daughter wants to work for the Europeans who live nearby; Zamiatou realizes that such jobs are often a front for prostitution and withholds her permission even when the family’s food runs out. Instead the mother becomes a water seller, riding a donkey long distances to provide for her family. Ousmane carries herself boldly, proudly, undaunted by the greatest difficulties. The cinematographer Yorgos Arvanitis, who works with Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, captures the desert’s stupefying vastness, which makes Zamiatou’s survival seem all the more heroic—as do the acidic and likely all-too-true portrayals of the cynical Europeans who employ native girls for sex. 90 min.