|GRIGRIS (director/writer: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; cinematographer: Antoine Heberle; editor: Marie-Helene Dozo; music: Wasis Diop; cast: Souleymane Démé (Grigris), Anaïs Monory (Mimi), Cyril Guei (Moussa), Marius Yelolo (The Step-father), Hadje Fatime N'Goua (Fatime), Rémadji Adèle Ngaradoumbaye (Fifi); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Florence Stern; Film Movement; 2013-Chad-in French & Arabic with English subtitles)|
|"In a crowd-pleasing way plays out
as an uplifting story of an underdog
overcoming his rotten fate."
by Dennis Schwartz
France-based, 52-year-old Mahamat-Saleh
Haroun ("Our Father"/"Dry Season"/"A
Screaming Man") passionately writes and directs this
French backed arthouse African coming-of-age
melodrama, that in a crowd-pleasing way plays out as
an uplifting story of an underdog overcoming his
Central African Republic of Chad, in its capital city
of N’djamenathe, 25-year-old Grigris (Souleymane Démé),
despite a bum leg, aspires to be a professional
dancer, and shows off to an enthusiastic audience his
killer dance moves on weekends at the local disco.
happy-go-lucky lifestyle radically changes for Grigris
when his protective step-father (Marius Yelolo),
who employs him as his photography assistant, gets
hospitalized with a serious illness and the
impoverished lad to earn quick money to pay the
medical bills talks the local crime syndicate boss, Moussa
(Cyril Guei), into
letting him smuggle gasoline. Grigris also falls
in love with the local prostitute, Mimi (Anaïs Monory),
an aspiring model, who admires his dancing, and the
two against all odds hope to start life anew together.
But when Grigris recklessly tries to cheat Moussa out
of the jetty cans of gasoline, he's forced to flee the
city with Mimi or be killed.
The energetic performance by newcomer Souleymane Démé gives the thoughtful film all the warmth and resolution it needs.
REVIEWED ON 7/27/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ