Thursday, January 10, 2013

Madame Brouette

2002, Senegal/France/Canada, directed by Moussa Sene Absa

While Moussa Sene Absa's films tend to occupy a good deal of the same socially-conscious territory as those of Ousmane Sembène,  his methods are rather different. Unlike Sembène, Absa is open about drawing on influences from more commercial cinema in the service of telling an engaging story that is nonetheless fully grounded in the social problems of Dakar life, and his camerawork and editing are brisk and incisive -- and often endowed with considerable humour, particularly here in the exploration of different kinds of dressing up, whether it's a man getting ready to impress a new girl or the same man selecting a dress to wear during a Senegalese carnival feast.

Absa's serious point comes through a little too insistently at times, as though the didactic urge breaks through the eye-catching surface -- there's the occasional rather obvious line, such as the titular character expressing the hope that her daughter "has a better life," a pretty mundane observation in the context of what we see onscreen and invested with more drama than it can bear. For the most part, though, Absa does a fine job of both treating his characters with respect and weaving around them a kind of magical realist texture, of bright colours and zesty personalities, in which a Greek chorus seems an entirely natural presence. There's a striking use of recorded music, too, particularly in a scene of cross-border smuggling that's fraught with both danger and absurdist commentary on the Senegalese state and its agents.

No comments:


List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States