East Side Stories | The Ghosts of Africa lands on the catwalk: On Netflix there is “Atlantique” by Mati Diop

“Atlantique” is the outstanding debut of the French-Senegalese director who tells the story of children kidnapped from the sea in fiction. On Amazon a film about the closure

While wandering the streets of Dakar, the birthplace of his musical father, Matti Diop felt suppressed by a ghostly and supernatural presence. So when he decided to shoot his first feature film, he wanted to regain this feeling, and tell a ghost story set in Africa. The Atlantic, Available on Netflix, which won him the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2019. Thanks to this recognition, Diop was shown in the empire of authoring cinema, linked to the paradoxical priority of the only African director so far accepted in competition for the Golden Palm, Palm. In fact, this woman, born in 1982, is so charismatic and subtle that she always appears in the predicate of a breakup, she was born in Paris to a French mother who set foot in Senegal for the first time at the age of ten. The genre rating, always somewhat serious, did not however overwhelm the film’s value, which managed to be both subtle and deplorable, and severe even in moments when the trend was most “sloppy”. The Atlantic It tells of a generation of African boys, lost and deluded, who were forced to go to sea so that they would not die of hunger and corruption. “In Dakar between 2000 and 2010 there was a massive wave of immigration that was left on boats of hope at the mercy of the Atlantic to reach Spain. Some succeeded, but many disappeared in the waves.

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When people die at sea, there is no real end, because a corpse cannot be found. Then it remains in the presence of others very strong ». The daughter of the generation who loved Twilight, Diop reinterprets reality according to the genre of fiction, doing a rejuvenation similar to the one Tarantino did with the Bmovies. The Atlantic It is based on the secret love story between Solomon (Ibrahima Traore) and Ada (Mam Pineta Sani), engaged to a wealthy man. But the jump occurs when the lover suddenly disappears with his friends. Diop’s look has nothing to do with African cinematic traditions. I wasn’t interested in this trend, because I was afraid to find unconscious traces of colonialism, and a feeling of inferiority. I was afraid that I would not find the freedom and pride that I became acquainted with in my uncle’s films, ”director, poet and composer Gabriel Diop Mambetti, author of the acclaimed book Toki Bucky (1973), died in 1998.

“I was afraid the films did not show enough pride in their roots.” at The Atlantic Of the Africans there is a strong emotional framework, which is used above all to support excitement. “While I was collecting the testimonies of my Senegalese colleagues, it was explained to me that when someone made the decision to leave, he was in fact already dead. Then I began to examine who decided to emigrate: I realized that he was only physically present, when the mind was already in another place.” Diop cannot be called an indigenous person, but she almost became one after choosing the roots of cinema in Senegal. “Every time I left I felt the need to return.” The fact that Senegal feels as a single home, at an appropriate distance, stripped her gaze of the enthusiasm or prejudice of the alien and prevented her From falling into the side view of magical realist folklore to depicting traditional moments, such as a wedding. ”I have always been fascinated by the aesthetics and imagination of Islamic culture, refined and evocative of memories. But in fact, she changed the worship of the dead, by embodying their soul in the body of women. I liked the idea that they were fighting a civil battle on their backs. So I wouldn’t bother if they put me in the “African directors” case. If this works to get women to take me as an example to free themselves, then I am happy. Recently, Prada chose Matti Diop from among the directors of the Miu Miu Woman’s Tales series, to tell her Close. Director, who is also an actress – she made her debut in 2008 in Claire’s 35 Shots – for short in my room, On Amazon Prime, he still talks to other ghosts: The ghost of a recently passed grandmother, the ghosts of Violetta Della Traviata, Solitude in the towering heights of icy Paris in the silence of quarantine. While the camera spies on other souls agonize in the cells of the apartment that surrounds him. We welcome the new talent.
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Christina Batocletti

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