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33 Ratings

The Pirogue

La Pirogue

Directed by Moussa Touré
France, Senegal, 2011


Senegalese director Moussa Touré offers an unvarnished glimpse into a common but often deadly immigrant journey, taking us on a perilous sea voyage with 30 West African immigrants heading for Spain.

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The Pirogue Directed by Moussa Touré
Director Moussa Touré depicts the travelers broadly yet vividly, the sense of danger and adventure seemingly derived from Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944). But the sociocultural aspects hew closer to the work of the influential Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, whose embattled worldview is evident in the protagonist’s conflicted desire to set sail for greener pastures and his almost perverse sense of obligation to a town and a life that have nothing to offer him.
June 12, 2015
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Given the film’s neo-neorealist imperative, the real achievement here is affecting detail within an observational approach. For all the tense interpersonal conflicts and the inevitable, if thrilling, stormy-seas set piece, what proves most striking are the exactly rendered little moments…
January 25, 2013
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Touré can’t entirely overcome the predictability of the premise; like any disaster movie, it’s a process of picking out which passengers will survive. The conscious irony is that the country these characters are abandoning is visibly, achingly poor, but it is also beautiful, and its ways are warm and familiar. In the poignant, symmetrical end, Touré leaves the idea that the real yearning of these people is for a fair shake in their own home.
January 24, 2013
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