Saturday, April 5, 2014

You Don’t Have a Home Until You Leave It

Touki Bouki (1973) - Mambéty
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Mory (Magaye Niang) dreams of leaving Dakar and going to Paris with his college student girlfriend, Anta (Mareme Niang). Always on his trusty motorbike with a cow skull attached to the front, Mory is somewhat of a dreamer and doesn't really fit well in a society where young men only talk about revolution. The couple cheats and steals their way through getting tickets for a sea voyage, but Mory has second thoughts at the last minute. He realizes that wherever he goes, he will be like that of a bull in the slaughterhouse with a noose around his neck. That is the legacy of colonialism. It dawns on him that there is no escape, that he might as well stay.

Even though Mory and Anta are from a shantytown, Touki Bouki is not an overtly socio-political condemnation of colonialism or anything. It's definitely there though. There are elements that stress the view of white Europeans on Senegalese but that's beside the point. The film is, first and foremost, fun. It has a very loose structure and fluidity and playfulness throughout. It's very much French New Wave. You can totally see Breathless- Touki Bouki- Leos Carax connection here. The energy combined with colors and sound make quite an arresting experience.

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