Friday, August 29, 2014

Film on Friday #19 - Grigris

This is what I love about Film Movement - the opportunity to watch critically acclaimed films that I would not have discovered on my own. This week's entry is a 2013 Cannes Film Selection - Grisgris, from Chad director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.

Grigris loves to dance, despite having a disabled leg. He works with his stepfather, but earns extra money dancing at the local club. It is at the club that he meets and falls in love with Mimi, a prostitute. When his stepfather falls ill, Grigris needs to earn extra money to pay the hospital. And so he turns to a local criminal for a job. Despite his good intentions, Grigris runs afoul of this man and he and Mimi are in grave danger....

I was fascinated to read how Souleymane Démé ended up playing the part of Grisgris. Haroun saw Démé dancing in his country of Burkina Faso and hired him for his film. While an accomplished dancer this is Démé's first film role. Mimi is played by Anaïs Monory and this is her film debut as well. I though both actors did a great job. I was absolutely astounded by Démé's dance moves - he is an amazing dancer. But Haroun does not make the film about Grigris's disability, instead it is about controlling your destiny. Our hearts and hopes are with Grigris and Mimi as they struggle to find a life for themselves. And isn't that what any of us wants?

I loved the setting - seeing a country I knew nothing about - from both a city and a rural point of view. The soundtrack was fitting, from both the club music to the background sounds. There are parts of this film that are difficult to watch - there is some violence, but the level of poverty is just as difficult to watch. But there is joy as well - I think my favourite part is the village and the women who live there. There are a few slow scenes where the camera could have moved on fifteen seconds earlier, but I really enjoyed this film.

As always, there is a short included. This time it's a monochromatic animated film called Feral, an Academy Award Nominee. The story is a familiar one - a feral child found in the woods.

Chad/2013/French & Arabic with English subtitles / 101 min


bermudaonion said...

I struggle with subtitled films but boy, do those dance scenes look good. I may have to give this one a try.

Anonymous said...

I discovered this movie at the local library. I really enjoyed it! I watched it more than once. Grigris is such a sweet guy.