La pirogue (2013)
Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue. Like many of his Senegalese compatriots, he sometimes dreams of new horizons, where he can earn a better living for his family. When he is offered to lead one of the many pirogues that head towards Europe via the Canary Island, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing full-well the dangers that lie ahead. Leading a group of 30 men who don't all speak the same language, some of whom have never seen the sea, Baye Laye will confront many perils in order to reach the distant coasts of Europe. (c) ArtMattan … More
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Critic Reviews for La pirogue
La Pirogue is small compared with most Euro-American productions and has its vulnerabilities -- but its makers trusted it to do the big job of carrying the story of African emigration, and it has come through beautifully.
The storms, quarrels and casualties don't make any emotional waves since they are clinically checked off, as if the filmmakers themselves recognize the predictability of it all and would rather just hurry on to the gloomy finale we all see coming.
For all its technical skill and good intentions, the film doesn't quite have enough dramatic momentum to push it over the top.
Touré leaves no room for sentimentality in his tale of struggle, which has a lean but adventurous, docudrama look and feel.
The pirogue practice may still be going on, but at least Touré has done his job and has made a strong film in doing it.
Director Moussa Touré's allegorical underpinning transforms this rather predictable plot, ripped from familiar headlines around the world, into a decidedly Senegalese story.
It's as sadly repetitive a story for Europe as it is for the US: would-be immigrants risking all for a better opportunity elsewhere.
Every moment feels human and true, from the naive optimism of the trip's sendoff to its unsparingly realistic conclusion, which trades reckless hope for quiet honor.
A key to the realism is tribal and linguistic diversity so often ignored in films about Africans. . memorably captures the staggering determination it takes to go to Europe.
Given the film's neo-neorealist imperative, the real achievement here is affecting detail within an observational approach.
[It] touches, subtly, on issues of faith, feminism and a faltering world economy.
There's enough filmmaking talent evident throughout that you wish the journey were more satisfying overall.
What distinguishes it is not the depiction of danger and loss at sea, but a deep understanding of West African culture. Unlike such glib Hollywood issue pictures as Blood Diamond, The Pirogue is rich with authentic details.
Moussa Touré's worldview, like Ousmane Sembene's, is characterized by the feeling that, at the end of the day, some degree of loss or defeat is inevitable.
Politically powerful neorealist treatment on Senegalese "boat people" done with a poet's touch.
A compelling cross of Life of Pi and Lifeboat, a seafaring tale of survival sans the Bengal tiger and Tallulah Bankhead.
This universal story could easily serve as a dramatically gripping primer on topical immigration issues to schoolchildren across the globe, from Arizona to Afghanistan.
Audience Reviews for La pirogue
Baye Laye(Souleymane Seye Ndiaye) has been recruited by Lansana(Laity Fall) to captain a pirogue to Spain, consisting of thirty men. On the one hand, Baye Laye is reluctant to leave his family behind, but does not feel comfortable with having young Kaba(Babacar Oualy), who dreams of playing soccer in Spain, in charge either. What eventually sways him in going is the increase in the fee. And everything goes smoothly at first at sea even with different tribes being represented, including those from Guinea who have never even seen the open sea before. And then Nafy(Mame Astou Diallo) is discovered as a stowaway.
As social drama, "The Pirogue" does its job in shining the light on the plight of those who are desperate enough to risk their lives to make a new life for themselves in Europe. According to the endnote, from 2005 to 2010, 30,000 started out from Africa, with 5,000 dying en route. The point being made here is that even with the most meticulous preparations, some things cannot be accounted for.(Or in other words, there is no such thing as an atheist on the open seas.) Even though a documentary might not have been the best route, this dramatic presentation is far from perfect, either, even as it is well filmed. To be honest, the movie should actually have been longer, as it is rather anticlimactic.
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