Camp Thiaroye

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 (1987), 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. Leisurely paced, this is a novelistic (and often witty) treatment of a complex subject in which all the characters get their due. In French and Wolof with subtitles. 147 min. (JR)

Published on 25 Oct 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Belle Toujours

Manoel de Oliveira’s sequelor tribute, or speculative footnoteto Luis Bu

Published on 20 Oct 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Babel

Unlike many colleagues, I’m not a fan of Amores Perros or 21 Grams, scripted by Guillermo Arriaga and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez I

Published on 20 Oct 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Days Of Glory

Rachid Bouchareb’s stirring war movie does for the North Africans what Ousmane Sembene and Thierno Faty Sow’s Camp Thiaroye (1987) did for the Senegalese: it acknowledges the important role they played fighting alongside the French in World War II and reveals the harsh and dismissive treatment of them that followed, a result of persistent colonialist attitudes. This was Algeria’s official Oscar entry this year and also won the Cannes film festival’s prize for best actor, which was shared by all five leads; they play a pied-noir sergeant and four North African enlistees traveling across Italy and France and into Alsace. In French and Arabic with subtitles. R, 120 min. (JR)

Published on 20 Oct 2006 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>