Here’s the thing about my movie reviews, I spoil. Movie was made in 2013, no excuses to get mad.
One time while strolling through the Africa tab on Kanopy, I came across La Pirogue.
Now, after I saw the amazing quality of Phone Swap, I assumed that by the picture image that the movie was going to at least look as…I guess “violet” as it does.
Honestly, I had no clue what I was going in for, I was expecting like a movie about fishermen or something.
This movie isn’t about Fishermen.
Okay, it’s been a while since I actually saw this movie so I may get some names wrong but here’s how it goes.
There’s a plan to go to Europe from Senegal and the main character, Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye) has been appointed to ship the passengers there.
Baye Laye is reluctant but learns that his brother, Abou (Malamine Drame) is also gonna be on that boat.
I don’t think that’s why he agrees to it but at some point he actually does.
Look, the boat is a good boat and it makes for a sweet pic.
With that being said, the boat is also motor powered and has like no oars or anything and that’s not even counting the passengers.
On top of being somewhat complete strangers of one another, there’s a language barrier, a religion barrier, a culture barrier, an age barrier…Like, I haven’t see so many divided black people since I started using the internet.
There’s a little bit of tension when you find out that there’s a stowaway on the boat, a young woman by the name of Nafy (Mame Astou Diallo), who is apparently dating someone that’s on the boat (either Kaba (Babacar Oually) or Abou, as memory serves).
Okay, so we have a divided and slightly hostile group of people on a boat to Europe with a woman that’s a stowaway.
Finna be a Breeze, right?
At first, everything seem as simple as “sit and chill until we get to Europe” until people start getting hungry and the engine starts to make weird noises.
It’s a long trip from Senegal and Baye Laye is at the helm.
We get a “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” thing going when Baye Laye’s ship come across another ship that’s stranded that they had to overlook because it’s like “we can’t really do anything about it” and desperation can turn some people into monsters so it’s best not to risk anything.
On top of food slightly running out and the possibility of a failed engine, the group presses on.
Now, let me get into a bit of a thing here.
I didn’t really focus too much on a lot of the characters because everyone ultimately had a one sided reason to go to Europe, some went for work, others went for pleasure and obviously others went just to get out of Senegal but there was one cat that stood out to me and you’ll learn why there’s no pun intended for that.
There’s this one guy who has leg problems, I think it’s either amputated or just stopped functioning, either way, dude has a cane.
So while everyone else is walking around like a bunch of walkers, this guy here has to hobble with a fucking cane just to literally move forward and all he wanna do when he get to Europe is walk (I also think he wanted to see his son who just happened to be in Europe too).
So when I saw his cane floating in the leftover water after the wave hit, I was devastated.
All that man wanted to do was walk and see his kid and the powers that be refused him that.
More people die, including Kaba, his friend that recommended this in the first place.
At the end of it all, though, Baye Laye, Abou and Nafy (along with a handful of other characters that survived who were probably unnamed in the making of the movie to prove a point) make it to Europe, they get their sandwich and their ticket and told to enjoy and all I could think about was that floating cane.
Moussa Toure actually has an account on Kanopy and he mentions that the movie was motivated from a conversation he had with a mechanic of his that actually made that trip before.
Would I recommend it? Yeah. It’s jarring and heart breaking but stuff like that makes people think. If you’re not the type to succumb to Fottepery, I say “give it a try” because while it does give yet another grim outlook on African culture, it does provide a nice example of other things like the Senegalese wrestling in the beginning of the movie, the actual language is pretty nice too.
I’d watch it again if I had time, I can’t lie, the movie felt longer than it should be for me but that’s just because I read “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as a kid and I was just waiting for an albatross to show up.
Good movie though, I enjoyed it.