Touki Bouki (Journey of the Hyena) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Touki Bouki (Journey of the Hyena) Reviews

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½ July 26, 2016
good 'road trip' movie
December 3, 2015
I might be tempted to call this exhilarating Senegalese film "psychedelic" (because of all the non-diegetic sound and eclectic music) but probably it is really taking its cues from the French New Wave. Djibril Diop Mambety (who wrote and directed) is very free-spirited with the narrative, which sees two lovers aspiring to escape Dakar for their idealized version of Paris, often pausing to show us the African backdrop of people, shantytowns, and ocean vistas. Most likely, there is symbolism here that I'm missing (the early slaughter of the cow that is related somehow to the horns on the motorbike that serves ultimately to distract Mory from his journey to France, for example). But you do get a feeling that this is what Dakar really was like in 1973 and perhaps the film makes it seem exotic enough that you wonder why Mory and Anta would want to leave (except of course for the way they are treated as outcasts/misfits and the general poverty all around) - but so it goes even today. Yet somehow the film feels uplifting.
½ July 2, 2015
A strange, layered film that will likely be seen again before the year is out to see if I can get it anymore, Touki Bouki is the second example of native African cinema I've seen, and I have to say it is a certain kind of wonderful. The cast is likable, and the themes of ones relationship to their roots is an interesting one and is explored with subtly, and it has genuine laugh out loud moments. However, I feel like I didn't get the some parts because I don't have as much knowledge into Senegal's culture. Worth at least a taste, Touki Bouki comes recommended.
½ June 9, 2014
Touki Bouki does a great job contrasting the fantasies and expectations of troubled youth with the bleak reality of being poor in post-colonial Senegal, mostly in the style of the French New Wave. Aside from the actual footage of a 1970s Senegalese slaughterhouse, I really liked it.
½ May 16, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014

(1973) Touki Bouki/ Journey OF The Hyena
(In Wolof, Arabic and French with English subtitles)

Written and directed by Djibril Diop MambÚty with a beginning not for the faint of heart showcasing an actual slaughterhouse for cows. Then it introduces a young African couple wanting to start a new life in France. They do this by riding around on a motorcycle from place to place looking for opportunities to steal something big. The thin plot can sometimes look like it serves as a backdrop to the current African culture, as well as it's environment.

3 out of 4 stars
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2014
Sometimes hailed as a lost classic, "Touki Bouki" walks a shaky line between charming naivete and sheer technical ineptitude. The pacing is off -- certain scenes last far too long. The exposition is muddled. Ditto for the wobbly use of flashbacks. Two quirky songs are woefully overused in the score. The narrative is disjointed and sometimes defies logic. Still, this Senegalese tale of a girl, a boy, his motorcycle (memorably decorated with an ox skull) and their dream of escaping to Paris likably captures a moment in an intriguing, seldom seen culture. Put this on a double bill with "The Harder They Come" and enjoy a period taste of Third World exotica.
September 28, 2013
Djibril Diop Mambety's (and Maybe Africa's in general) most famous film is a spirited concoction consisting of influences from the freewheeling New American Cinema and the radical politic films of the French New Wave, but it is also something entirely its own. It is indescribably aimless and unfocused, and this sometimes works greatly in its favor and sometimes doesn't. The film deals with two youths from Senegal, and the lengths they are willing to go to get out of it. But just like the great late sixties American road pictures, the destination is less important to Mambety than the spots and people shown along the way. Here's where the film becomes tired and inconsistent; the slowly unfolding misadventures of this brazen duo become so engulfed in Mambety's experimental ambition that at many points the film fails twice at once- there are moments where neither the political nor artistic cannons are firing very accurately, and these sequences can really drag. I like the film best when it is at its least flamboyant, focusing on Mambety's bold and often quite funny characterizations of the people of Senegal. The movie is a playful and artistic mess, and hits and misses as much as any such thing is bound to.
August 30, 2012
A French New Wave film in tone, but made in Senegal by Djibril Diop Mamb├ (C)ty, Touki Bouki is unique in African cinema. Though some of it seems to have dated, the political subtext to the film still remains highly pertinent and vital in the twenty-first century. As African nations step closer to first world nations, the compromise between tradition and modernity will stand in starker contrast than it did in 1973. If you are a lover of world cinema, and cinematic history, this is one of the key films in the evolution of African cinema, and a must-see. It is also surprisingly modern.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2011
An avant-garde and groundbreaking Senegal masterpiece about ambition and alienation. The breathtaking landscapes and the perfect role of nature contrast the savage dreams of an inconformist low class seeking for the unreachable. How ironic that modern urban civilization usually represents the neoliberal troubles of humanity and here, in Touki Bouki, morally incorrect actions seem to be the easiest path to a "paradise" that is strongly longed for.

½ February 14, 2011
There's nonlinear narrative, and then there is "Touki Bouki", a film that feels like a bad attempt to imitate Quentin Tarantino and looks like a train wreck. There is some clever cinematography and match cutting, but none of it fits into the story at all.
November 29, 2010
Mory is a cowhand who dreams of a better life in Paris, France. He drives a motorcycle with a cow's skull mounted on the front. He has a girlfriend, Anta, a University student who joins him in his journey to find a way to get to France - this includes Mory trying to rip people off with various scams. A look at the haves and have nots in Senegal - the rural and urban lives with a song constantly repeating "Paris, Paris, Paris" reminding them to vie for a better life in Europe. The film is at times confusing seemingly shooting from the mindset of the character as to what they are thinking at that moment. Touki Bouki seems heavily influenced by the films of Godard, yet it is a strikingly original and interesting film.
May 3, 2010
A fascinating and somewhat sarcastic look into life in urban Senegal as two lovers dream of finding a happy ending in Paris. Mambety's style is very memorable (reminiscent of French New Wave).
January 5, 2010
Great 70s movie, with lots of unsaid, and unrelated scenes. The scenes of cows, and a goat, being slaughtered, are very powerful and strangely attractive. Lots of humour too, and a very good scene with French teachers being utterly racist and dumb. The amateur actors are great, too, smiling frankly at the camera.
½ December 9, 2009
WEB-LETTERBOX. Inspirada y experimental, pero de una forma nada pretenciosa y sÝ muy sincera en querer retratar un Senegal con su agridulce identidad postcolonial, y en jugar con los tiempos narrativos. / Inspired and experimental, but in a way that is not pretentious but has much sincerity in portraying Senegal in all its bittersweet post-colonial identity, and in playing with narrative time frames.
June 29, 2009
Two small time hoods dream of both respect in and escape from Senegal. The film relies heavily on symbolism to convey the main characters' deeper impulses and feelings, and the story can be read as one of being satisfied and not tempted by aspects of colonialism. Some of the sequences work quite well--others are too obvious or too disjointed to convey the mood effectively.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2009
a film from senegal all about a young man's scheming and dreaming of immigrating to paris. the narrative is messy but there are some great images here. this is one of the 'lost' films restored by scorsese's world cinema foundation. a few of these can now be streamed for free on the auteurs site in the u.s.
December 31, 2008
wow, talk about acid trip... haha... I think whoever made this was on one. It's not tied together very well and I didn't like it that much.
½ May 23, 2008
I read somewhere that this film's thought to be Africa's first avant-garde film, and I find this tag incredibly problematic, not just because the impossibility of applying such a tag to any film but also because it's more precisely a film very much in tradition of the New Wave movements blowing up across the globe at the time. However, it should be pointed out that Djibril Diop Mamb├ęty's film isn't really derivative in any way but really strikes out on its own to get at familiar social messages. The essential plot concerns a lower class couple in Senegal who want to get to France, assuming that life will improve dramatically with a change of scenery. They decide to steal their way onto a ship and to make their way away from their native country. Of course, that doesn't get at perhaps the film's key distinguishing factor: that it's hilarious yet deadpan serious almost constantly. That's not to say that Mamb├ęty panders for laughs. Perhaps the most impressive thing about his direction and screenplay is that all of the humor and details that sell the thing come from the social criticism. For example, the couple decides to steal clothes from a wealthy man because the ports are essentially ran in a way that a disguise is necessary! This notion paves the way for a moment in which the couple meets up with a potential escapee who wants them to hide him so that he can escape a man he owes money to who, naturally, sits next to the ports and looks out for him. In the end, the story becomes one of the couples' desire to escape Senegal. The man, Mory, drives a motorbike with a bull's horns mounted upon it. Considering that the opening scene is a group of cows being led to the slaughterhouse, I'm not sure whether the horns are meant to indicate the similarity of Mory's position to the cows or perhaps his ability to transcend it. After all, the bull fights back before it's slaughtered. In this sense, Mory's independence and his utilization of such a symbolic structure on the motorbike suggests that he fights his situation, that of an oppressed African facing huge gaps between domestic rich and poor and even larger chasms between the African natives and the white colonizers. Inexplicably and hilariously, when Mory is about to leave the continent, his motorcycle is taken over by a caveman! Using the framework described previously, the second owner's primitive subhuman nature indicates what I think is Mamb├ęty's central theory: that because the economic situation is so dire for Senegal's citizens, they think that jumping ship, if you will, to another, more symbolically successful country is the only way to rise. The centrality of the watered horizon to earlier scenes of the couple making love emphasizes again and again that wish to escape. In the end though, the answer is left a little less clear for the characters. What's more important in a shot with the post-coital couple in the foreground and the sea in the background? The possibility for success abroad or the reproduction and furthering of the country here? Of course, there's a lot more to the question itself. Perhaps the most famous and most well-crafted and thought out sequence comes as the couple ride in bourgeois clothes on the back of an automobile and look down upon relatives who, hours before, were trying to get them to pay back loaned money. The scene's hilarious yet, as I said, biting in its resonance. Clearly, Mamb├ęty sees all too clear how funny and simultaneously dire these questions can be, and that, as I said, is his chief strength in this nearly flawless work. **** and 1/2 * out've *****
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