Mati Diop’s "Atlantique" – In the foam of the "Atlantic" | Dans l'écume de l' "Atlantique" analysis/analyse by/par Falila Gbadamassi (Africine)
In collaboration with Africine.org, translated from French by Beti Ellerson and published on the African Women in Cinema Blog.
EN FRANÇAIS : http://www.africine.org/?menu=art&no=14680. 05/17/2019
French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop contemplates the emigration of young Africans—through the angle of fantasy. Atlantique gives homage to the memory of a generation lost in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantique is in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. A first for an afrodescendant woman.
In the suburbs of Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Ada (Mame Bineta Sané) loves Sulaiman (Ibrahima Traore). And though Souleiman loves Ada, she will soon marry another. Nonetheless, they continue their clandestine rendezvous in a nightclub adjoining the sea, but on this night, Suleiman does not show up. He has taken to the sea with his friends, at the end of a devastating workday. Looming smugly on the site is the building that the young workers are erecting—though they still have not received their pay. As Suleiman points out, despite their hard work, they have become indebted men, who return late at night to evade their numerous creditors.
For her first feature film, Mati Diop is an advocate of the unemployed youth, a youth for which emigration to Europe by sea becomes the only option. Filmed from all angles, this dangerous Atlantic Ocean is a full-fledged character of the film: the director posed her camera, in the wafts of dust of Dakar, a city teeming with life and on which hovers the shadow of death, caused by a tumultuous sea. The filmmaker also reflects on the daily life of the young women and men: the young women seeking to build a future through marriage, or content to wait for the young men, who, in spite of themselves, choose the sea, in the hopes of opening other horizons, even if it means to die doing so.
Atlantique is inhabited by the strength of the originality of its scenario. Mati Diop treats the issue of clandestine immigration from a mystical viewpoint, summoning the jinn (the spirits of the Muslim imaginary) to address one of the reasons for this perilous risk-taking: the lack of perspective for many young Senegalese even when they have a job. Tangentially, the film denounces those who exploit them, rather than simply paying them the equivalent of the fruits of their labor.
In the meantime, Ada is waiting for Suleiman, who seems to have returned to the capital. However, she is not the only one to pursue him. The police, embodied in particular by the dashing inspector Issa (Amadou Mbow), is also on his tracks because of a mysterious fire that broke out in Ada’s bridal chamber.
In addition to the police investigation interrogation, Mati Diop asks her own questions. What happens to the souls of all those who perished in this great blue vastness that they sometimes saw from their room? What are their final hopes? By presenting their thoughts and their relationships with the living, the filmmaker delivers her own response, plunging the viewer into a magical haze: thanks, among other things, to the repetition of images that return to the sea. Her elder and compatriot, the poet Birago Diop, did he not already say that the dead were not dead? ... In Atlantique, they are in the foam of the sea.
Dans l'écume de l' "Atlantique"
Un film de Mati Diop analyse par Falila Gbadamassi
publié le 17/05/2019. Africine.org
La cinéaste franco-sénégalaise Mati Diop traite de l'émigration des jeunes Africains sous l'angle du fantastique. Atlantique salue la mémoire d'une génération perdue dans les vagues de l'océan Atlantique. Le film vaut à sa réalisatrice de devenir une pionnière du cinéma africain : elle est la première femme du continent à être en compétition pour la Palme d'Or. Lire l'intégralité de l'article @ http://www.africine.org/?menu=art&no=14680