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«Ouaga Saga» A film review from Ronnie Scheib

A sprinkling of magic and huge helpings of improbable luck turn a group of feckless kids into budding entrepreneurs in Dani Kouyate's modern urban fable set in the Ouagadougou of the title. A change-of-pace from director's more mythically timeless films, the HD-shot «Ouaga Saga» celebrates the present-tense, day-to-day adaptability of the city --- the bright colors, fetching music, and bone-deep community-sense attractively invoking a whole nation's largely untapped potential. Pic seems assured extended small-screen life in francophone countries, but its modesty and unabashed whimsicality may not propel it beyond the fest circuit elsewhere.
Despite the economic precariousness of their situation, a group of pals, ranging in age from early teens to early 20s, hang out in easy camaraderie and are cared for more or less collectively by their various sets of parents. They find their joys where they can --- in setting up an impromptu feast to toast the theft of a spoiled rich kid's motorcycle, or taking turns peeking through a fence to catch snatches of a dubbed and much-appreciated «Rio Bravo.»
Later their Western-addicted buddy «Sheriff» fills them in on the finer points of the story, a slew of scenes from other classic oaters soon embellishing the «Rio Bravo» plotline.
Similarly, Kouyate's Ouagadougou seamlessly incorporates bits and pieces of global culture into a comfortably African context where John Wayne becomes a new character in an ongoing oral tradition, and a talking mule casually channels pantheism as much as «Shrek.»
Using a favorite contemporary African fairy-tale element, the lottery, to supply a happy ending, Kouyate imagines a city in which kids have the wherewithal to follow their ambitions. Finale gifts each character with an enterprise to fit his image.
Hi-def lensing by Jean-Claude Schiffrine does full justice to the vibrancy of the city, and Moktar Samba's music steers a jubilant course between contempo and traditional beats. Smooth mix of professional and non-professional actors adds to pic's eclectic blend of quasi-docu and instant folklore.

Film review from Ronnie Scheib

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Cette page a été actualisée la dernière fois le: 01.01.1970