Wednesday, May 20, 2015


2014, France/Mauritania, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Sissako continues his remarkable career at the very forefront of African filmmaking: he's sensitive, honest, unsentimental and possessed of an intense humanity. It takes something quite special to show, however discreetly, the stoning of an alleged adulterous couple but also to leave you with the sense that these were people with complex lives rather than an excuse for a shock effect -- and the same is true of the central death scene in a river, a heartbreaking, Lang-ian moment in which a man makes one ill-advised if quite understandable decision to engage in a confrontation. His action sets in motion an implacable fate, or at least implacable in the particular time and place depicted. The subsequent wide shot of the man's escape from the river, a corpse lying to the right of the screen, is quite breathtaking. Will those who could most engage with and react to the film have a chance to see it, though?

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States