Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

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Touki Bouki

Posted by martinteller on January 9, 2011

A young, rebellious Senegalese couple dreams of making it to Paris… by any means necessary. The film starts out in a straight-forward, realist style that led me to believe I was in for something along the lines of Sembene. But it quickly develops an array of startlingly modern techniques, bringing to mind any number of other filmmakers. The striking sound design, juxtaposing sound and image in almost shocking ways, reminded me of Ghatak. The loose (sometimes obscure) narrative was Jodorowsky-esque, especially when it took on quasi-mystical facets. The political undertones and revolutionary spirit are Godardian. And the plot is something like a mix of Bonnie and Clyde and The Harder They Come. It all combines in a wholly fascinating and enchanting piece of work that practically demands repeat viewings. Magaye Niang and Mareme Niang (siblings? I have no idea) are both excellent, radiating with charismatic screen presence. Wonderful use of music as well, particularly the repeated Josephine Baker song, beckoning our heroes to Paris. My only qualms are a couple of brief moments of comedy that were a little on the dumb side, and I didn’t care much for all the slaughtered and eviscerated animals (though I understand their symbolic purpose). Nonetheless, a great, great movie. I’m buying the DVD, this might be one of my new favorites. Looking forward to checking out Mambety’s only other feature, Hyenas, made 20 years later. Rating: 9


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