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Touki Bouki

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Touki Bouki is a pleasant, beautiful, unexpected, and upsetting movie that makes us to question ourselves about the authenticity of African culture. The notion of hybridism is one of the themes that run through this film. Like the previous film, the director uses the cinema medium to comment on the socio-political status in Africa after gaining the independence.  He is one of the major critics of neocolonialism. This movie shows the post independent Africa‘s contradictions and complexities. It represents how poor governance has led to a low sense of nationalism that makes the natives escape back to the colonialists. Rather than rejecting colonialism and elevating the authenticity of Africanism, they seem to envy the French culture. The mixed sequence of sounds and symbols that are present in this film represent the hybridity of the two cultures. Like Ousmane Sembene, Diop Mambety had a vision of transforming the conflicting mixture of elements to a usable re-invented African culture.

The styles of the movie may appear puzzling and disorderly at first, especially to the common linearity of the Hollywood films and American soaps. But the director is trying to do something more expressive with every image, cut, sound, and juxtaposition in the movie. That is to tell a story. He does this using non-linear technique telling a rather straight forward story.

The theme of wealth, power, and delusion are well established in the film. The film is about corruption, cultural alienation, exploitation of Africa, neocolonialism, and misguided Africans. Poverty and search for material items is the main reason why Djibril left his rural home for the town and later deserted his country for Europe. He soon discovers the reality in life and his dream became shuttered making him unable to leave the host country. His plan to go back to his native country becomes now the true dream that he would hardly fulfill. The illusory thought is that Paris is a land of fantasy where all becomes well and everyone enjoys the luxuries of French life. The question is how many young people are leaving their rural shantytowns in search of their fortunes in the ‘City Of Light’? We can substitute Paris with any other city may it be New York, Berlin, London or any other one but it would work equally well. These cities have served as a magnetic trap to these young people. They hunger to fulfill their dreams and are willing to do almost anything to access the mythical land of modernity and opportunities (Diop, Magaye, Mareme, Colomb & Moustapha 2005).

The author points out that many youngsters have attempted to cross the desert ocean trying to reach for their lucky star. They are only disappointed by the cruelty they encounter. He implicates Africans themselves for their continued dependency on the West. They are misled by their own desire for material good from the West. This is the reason behind the Africa’s continued dependency on foreign aid. They are revealed as short-sighted in looking at their colonial past instead of their future.

Yesterday: Film Review, Themes and Styles

This film has a South African connection and reflects the finding of the African voice in the screens. They are voices that express courage and pain. It reflects the pain of women in the apartheid rule as their husbands labor in the mine fields. At times, human nature of joy and sorrow is expressed through the interaction of different characters in the Cape Town. Political events are expressed by the truth justice and reconciliation commission which allegedly gave amnesty to criminals. Betrayal is symbolized by the assumption that there will be reconciliation amongst the parties (Roodt, Darrell, Singh, Spring, Kambule, Leleti Khumalo, Lenabe, Lihle Mvelase, Camilla Walker & 2006).

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