Senegalese film on poverty and emigration


This is the trailer, in French, of Senegalese film La Pirogue.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

San Francisco International Film Festival 2013—Part four

The plight of African boat people in The Pirogue, and other films

27 May 2013

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the recent San Francisco International Film Festival, April 25-May 9. Part one was posted May 16, Part two on May 22 and Part three on May 24.

The Pirogue

Veteran Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Touré’s The Pirogue is a drama about West Africans who undertake a perilous ocean voyage in the hope of escaping that region’s grinding poverty. Pirogues are wooden, outboard motorboats used in much of coastal Africa.

Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye) is reluctantly recruited to captain a pirogue bound for Spain. As a fisherman living near waters where fish are becoming increasingly scarce, he must risk death in an attempt to provide for his wife and child. All his passengers have similar motives, including his brother, an aspiring musician, who dreams about an illusory Spanish paradise.

Thirty people squeeze into the rickety vessel and endeavor to brave more than a thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The Pirogue’s postscript explains that between 2005 and 2010 some 5,000 people have perished out of an estimated 30,000 Africans who have attempted the journey. Director Touré, who has been making films since 1987, effectively dramatizes this horrific reality.

Despite the refugees’ careful preparations, the odds are horribly stacked against them. The farther their pirogue gets from the African coast, the more the tensions build amongst them. One young man mentally unravels, while his boatmates demonstrate a fragile camaraderie trying to calm him. Harsh decisions are made when they encounter another pirogue at sea whose engine has failed and whose despairing passengers scream to be rescued. For those few able to survive the voyage, no nirvana awaits them at voyage end. The Pirogue compensates for its relative simplicity by a remarkable cast, honestly directed to reproduce a vast social tragedy, for which the Great Powers, the former colonial countries, are responsible.

4 thoughts on “Senegalese film on poverty and emigration

  1. Pingback: Senegalese migrants in new film | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Spanish governmental anti-refugee cruelty | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Nelson Mandela and Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Japanese imperialism in Africa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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