Soriba Samb (Oumar Diop Makena) is a Senegalese who has just received a much sought after internship to study filmmaking in Paris. In this story, Soriba heads to Paris, accompanied by the five-year old son of a friend who he believes to be still living in Paris. On arrival he struggles to find the boy’s father. In addition to coping with his new internship, Soriba has to also spend time tracking down the boy’s father ‘Issa’. Soriba eventually finds ‘Issa’ but only to discover that he is running a prostitution ring and actually has no intention of leaving Paris. This is deeply disturbing to Soriba as the fate of the young boy now hangs squarely in the balance. Soriba sets out to change this and invokes the spirits of his ancestors to transform ‘Issa’s’ wayward living so he can care for his son and return to Senegal.
1991: Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film: Golden Bayart for Best Actor Continue reading
La Petite Vendeuse du Soleil (the Girl who sold the Sun) follows the life of a young girl who moves from her village to Dakar – having permanently lost the use of one of her legs, the only job she can do, is beg on the streets. One day however she sees boys selling Le Soleil, a national newspaper. Although no girls do that job, she manages to convince those in charge to give her a try… But can she survive in a cut-throat world where only aggression pays off? Offering a loving vision of modern day Dakar, Diop-Mambety takes us through all of the highs and lows of the sprawling city. His gentle, tender touch is evident but the tone doesn’t become sickly sweet with the film ending as realistically as it honestly could. Continue reading
“It’s possible that a good half of the greatest African movies ever made are the work of novelist-turned-filmmaker Ousmane Sembene (Black Girl, Xala, Ceddo). Camp Thiaroye (1988), cowritten and codirected by Thierno Faty Sow, recounts an incident that occurred in 1944. Returning from four years of European combat in the French army, Senegalese troops are sent to a transit camp, where they have to contend with substandard food and other indignities. An intellectual sergeant major (Ibrahima Sane) gets thrown out of a local bordello when he goes there for a drink; mistaken for an American soldier, he’s arrested and beaten by American MPs, which provokes his men into kidnapping an American GI. Then when the Senegalese troops discover that they’re about to be cheated out of half their back pay, they launch a revolt. Continue reading
A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from his traditional way of living to a more modern one.
From Time Out:
A political film criticising the type of bureaucracy that has arisen in post-colonial Senegal. A money order is sent to an unemployed, illiterate relative by a hard-working lad seeking his fortune in Paris. But all attempts to cash the money order are frustrated: the man’s illiteracy and ignorance of finance allow him to be exploited by those with education. The power is in the hands of the clerks and intellectuals, who use their knowledge for private advantage. Although the film can be criticised for the relative gentleness of its attack, Sembene succeeds in pointing up the divisiveness created by the colonial heritage. The French-colonised elite are now busy oppressing and colonising their own people. Shot in Wolof, the local language, the film asserts Senegalese culture against the rapacious way of the West. Not surprisingly it proved popular with the ‘people’, but was ignored by the bourgeois when originally released. Continue reading