3.5: The road scenes very much put me in the mood of a traveller to strange lands, which is precisely the situation in which I currently find myself (in Thailand). They are relaxing and hypnotic as watching the world pass you by from a vehicle can be. I can certainly imagine holding the camera during these scenes, as they are very much like the videos I shoot whenever I'm passing by something different or remarkable. I found the question towards the beginning, "Going Native?", very much cut to the essense of the film. It reminded me a bit of The Flame Trees of Thika as well, for obvious reasons. Films really don't get much more colonial than this, but it is handled in such a deft and subtle manner that it never feels condescending or preachy. The various scenes in which one can see the obvious subjugation of a people are done so simply and quietly that they have a far greater power and depth than films of far greater ambition. As many have said before, including me, less is often more. The pace, both in terms of narrative and editing, befits the climate and the desired mood. It leave one in a contemplative spirit and entirely relaxed and at ease. I can think of few films that have made colonial life seem so alluring without romanticizing it too much. Alternatively, it doesn't dwell on the vile or discgusting aspects of colonialism either, but it certainly does enough to make you more than conscious of them. It's interesting that the man we spend most of the film thinking of as African is actually a African man raised by priests, which I suspect makes him quite different from most of his compatriots. What is it then to be African (or more specifically Cameroonian, but even this is, I suspect, a Western name)? Is he somehow less pure because of his being tainted by the priests. Then the man the grown up little girl meets at the beginning turns out to be an African-American. Is he somehow less African that the French girl? In some ways yes; in other ways no. These are complex and fascinating characters, well written and performed. This really seems like quite an interesting life, despite all its flaws. The world was so gigantic back then, unlike today when it has shrunk considerably by comparison. My only real complaint is that the picture seemed far to brief. The ending is about as enigmatic as it gets. It isn't Antonioni, but it isn't conventional either. This could be a 4 after another viewing.