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Critics reviews
Atlantics
Mati Diop France, 2019
The sea beckons, seduces, overwhelms, and destroys in Atlantics, Mati Diop’s evocative, expansive ghost story set in Senegal.
November 15, 2019
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In Atlantics Diop blends social realism with fantasy and horror into a boldly atmospheric production, a lyrical elegy equal parts mythic and phantasmagoric.
November 14, 2019
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Magnificently transfixing, Diop’s ghost world is saturated with political implications, spiritual gravity, and subdued lyricism. Intermittently saturated in a soft spectral light, the nights in “Atlantics” teem with an aura ripe for the arrival of an apparition of love that’ll breed transformation.
November 14, 2019
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It’s a suspenseful, sensual, exciting movie, and therefore a deeply haunting one as well.
November 14, 2019
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Few recent films have changed direction as often and as unpredictably as Mati Diop’s Atlantics.
November 14, 2019
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It’s a lot to handle in a debut feature but thanks to ambition, intelligence, and the desire to relate a story that is seldom told from the inside, Diop—aided by Claire Mathon’s hauntingly shadowed cinematography and composer Fatima Al Qadiri’s sinuous, dissonant score—pulls it off almost without a hitch.
November 14, 2019
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Despite the considerable stylistic prowess demonstrated by Diop and her collaborators, Atlantics feels somewhat diffuse, building toward a decisive but familiar moment of closure for Ada—a note of affirmation to resolve the entire affair. Nonetheless, for Diop as much as for her lead character, Atlantics resounds with the promise of great things to come.
November 11, 2019
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This new degree of polish notwithstanding, Diop retains a knack for creating lyric accents that seem to have been casually captured rather than sweated over.
October 11, 2019
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The film balances its poetic images and trance-like mood with a tactile, visceral evocation of life.
September 30, 2019
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Atlantics, a deserving winner of the runner-up Grand Prix at Cannes, synthesizes the intoxicating moods of Diop’s previous work into an oneiric fable of migration and transmigration—suspended between realism and fantasy, the living and the dead, here and elsewhere.
July 01, 2019
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The short-form Atlantiques is broader, about the experience of young Senegalese men as they travel to Europe. The feature-length Atlantique drops the plural, narrowing its range to look at how these departures have shaped the life of a particular seventeen year-old girl. As Ada gazes back at the camera, we see how the seemingly minute can be the stuff of history too.
May 19, 2019
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The story may sound complex, but in fact Diop is swimming easily among archetypes and conventions—traditional values vs. modern, the desire to stay home and the yearning the leave, religion and consumerism—and sometimes Atlantics feels like a short film well-elaborated. But in its modesty and its details it is sweet and exquisite.
May 17, 2019
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Though all at once a forbidden love story, a piece of science-fiction and a brittle account of illegal migration, Atlantics is above everything a vastly enterprising piece of storytelling.
May 17, 2019
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Exquisitely shot by Claire Mathon and lushly scored by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film pulls together some exceedingly strong components. It has buckets of atmosphere to spare, enough to build a biome or two on Mars. Nevertheless, the script sometimes feels like a concept for a short attenuated to make a feature running time.
May 16, 2019
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