Country: Senegal / France / others
Movie Review: “La Pirogue” is a Senegalese drama that follows a group of African men who embark in the dangerous adventure of crossing the Atlantic in a fishing pirogue in order to reach Spain where they expect to find better life conditions. The pirogue will be handled by Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye in its debut), a Senegalese fisherman who is a truly connoisseur of the seas. Among the passengers there are Senegalese, a group of Guinean emigrants, one single woman, and a chicken. The perils of the trip could be felt, including some unlikeable surprises along the trip, dehydration, hunger, despair, and panic attacks. Frequent close-ups demonstrate the sadness mirrored in travellers’ faces, while joyful moments were very scarce. With a well-handled cinematography by Thomas Letellier, the film makes a curious introduction to its origin country through colorful scenes of African daily life, rituals, and rhythms, after definitely take off to the anguishing isolation of the ocean. The film was directed by Moussa Touré who counts with three feature-films and one documentary in a career that started in 1991. His 1998 comedy “TGV” got international recognition. Visually strong, “La Pirogue” wasn’t so original in concept but honestly conveys a tough reality, unfortunately more and more common nowadays. A questionable aspect here was the soundtrack, which sometimes gave the sensation of appeasement when tension was more appropriate to the situation. Not a big issue to discourage me from recommending it.