It’s not easy to escape the clichés when it comes to African immigration in France. Alain Gomis, however, eschews the rule, and proposes new looks in his first movie, exploring the status of immigrant as a mode of being of his characters: always displaced, both from their homeland and from the colony. It’s a pity that it’s originality does not extend to the aesthetics and the shape of the film.But, it’s a good debut.
The narrative techniques used are very interesting. The opening party sequence, and going to glimpses of different people was very well done. It also gets the film starting at the point it does but with a strong conteXt established. After, the film becomes a bit too plotty and the dilemma being brought out is obvious and easy, in a manner of speaking. Also did like the end though. Non eXplanation and silence of it.
A struggle for identity starting from an uncommon set-point, one of intellect and self-determination. Only to to decline into a fiction loaded with cliches, both fictional and cinematic. The audience is interpelled by the contrast between France and Africa, conformity and revolution, success and struggle... those are not individual issues to El Hadj's identity, rather subjects on the thesis Gomis wants to prove.
Deeply humane, this film deals with the personal angst and struggle of an immigrant, who copes with both being a foreigner (often facing discrimination and rejection) and the feeling of loosing connection with his home country, trapped in a limbo... Above that, there's also a layer of the toxic dynamics between the former colony struggling with its new identity in the presence of its old yet still powerful master.
PC. After a promising start, which seemed to repeat the free association of fictional times of some Jean Rouch's films -"Petit à Petit", "Moi, Un Noir" - the following fictional sequenciation is mainly an uninspired device to incorporate a good intention and message, which has little relevance to a specifically cinematic universe.
How does it feel when you've been struggling for 20 years to put down roots in a foreign country and you still haven't succeeded? Moreover: you promised you would have come back, but you realise that your family and your hometown has changed, once and forever? Thoughtful movie, both psychologically and politically deep, though enjoyable. Some Senegal life fragments, backed by an intriguing soundtrack, are hypnotic.
A socially-conscious feature that works as a fine reflection of post-colonial contradictions beetwen former powers and their subjects, now both merging again in a globalised world where servitudes subtly still apply. The particular drama within the film serves as a decent vehicle to reflect the initial premise but lacks refinement on its own.
An interesting look at the life of a man, typical of many, who is trying to study in France to make things better when he heads back to Senegal, and ends up getting the short end of a stick as problems mount up for him. The story is more important than any cinematic aesthetics here, but it's a shame that even just a bit of spit and polish couldn't have been added. Still good enough to take up 90 minutes of your time.
Probing, socially conscious depiction of the lived experience of the immigrant. It seeks not simply to rail against the obvious injustices of colonialism but to show the condition the immigrant as a mode of being, an existential state of yearning and radical uncertainty. Hence it avoids mere anticolonial polemic, becoming instead a humane and involving evocation of experience. Affecting and intelligent filmmaking.