Little Senegal (2001)

Original Title : Little Senegal
Director : Rachid Bouchareb
Writer : Rachid Bouchareb
Olivier Lorelle
Genre : Drama
Country : Algeria
Language : French
Producer : Allen Bain , Rachid Bouchareb , Jean Bréhat , Jason Kliot , Christoph Thoke , Joana Vicente
Music : Safy Boutella
Photography : Benoît Chamaillard
Youcef Sahraoui
Distributor : Alta Classics S.L. Unipersonal [es]
IMDB ID : 0268424
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poster for "Little Senegal" by Rachid Bouchareb (2001)
Little Senegal (2001) - Rachid Bouchareb


Sotigui Kouyaté Alloune
Sharon Hope Ida
Roschdy Zem Karim


Touching and engaging multi-layered story. The background of this film is complicated enough: it's an Algerian-French-German co-production of a story about a man in Senegal who works as a tour guide at a historical site where slaves were taken to America.He soon heads across the Atlantic himself in an effort to trace his own family's history in America.His search, which is handled with grace and poise, eventually lands him in New York City. *possible minor spoilers*There he bunks with a nephew and tracks down the whereabouts of a woman who he has uncovered to be a somewhat distant cousin. He is reluctant to immediately tell the woman of their relationship, but rather takes a job as a helper at her street newsstand. The film then focuses on the very realistic and heartwarming relationship that develops between the two, first as boss-to-employee, then as friend-to-friend, then as lover-to-lover, and finally as cousin-to-cousin.The beauty with which their friendship cum romance develops is so real and understandable that it matters not that they might be distant relatives.This film is as much a statement about our sometimes "boxed" views of love as it is about anything else. But there-in lies the films beauty... it is about so much more. Intertwined with the basic plotline are stories involving family, childhood, drug use, living in the streets, parental responsibilities, societally (and male)-imposed roles for women, within-race racism, death, honor, dignity, and ceremony.When the film ends you will feel like you have witnessed a special accomplishment, a truly rare treat.The acting is at times ever-so-slightly awkward, but if anything, it adds to the charm of the film as well as to its realism.The two leads (Sotigui Kouyate and Sharon Hope) are outstanding, and Rachid Bouchareb deserves accolades for directing and co-writing one of the most memorable films of the year so far. I hope the film gets distribution in the U.S.