DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
TOUKI BOUKI (aka: Hyena's Voyage) (director/writer: Djibril Doop Mambety; cinematographer: Georges Bracher; cast: Magaye Niang (Mory), Mareme Niang (Anta), Aminata Fall (Aunt Oumy), Ousseynou Diop (Charlie); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Djibril Doop Mambety; Kino; 1973-Senegal-in French with English subtitles)

 
"The film does itself proud with its fantasy images."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The late Sengalese director Djibril Doop Mambety ("Hyenas"/"The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun"/"Contras' City"), who died in 1998, helms this colorful, rueful, comical parable about two young lovers, Mory (Magaye Niang) and Anta (Mareme Niang), trying to escape from their poverty in Dakar and find a new life in Paris. It is the first experimental New Wave film to emerge from Africa, and at times it doesn't make sense but is always a good watch. The film does itself proud with its fantasy images.

The lovers are frustrated by their poverty and how the backward locals in their country residence make fun of their hippie-like appearance, so they plot to take an ocean liner to their dream city of Paris. Mory rides about in the dusty streets of Dakar with cattle horns mounted on the handlebars. As he rides his motorcycle, we hear Josephine Baker singing "Paris, Paris." This evokes a sophisticated Paree waiting for the lovers. 

The pair try several petty crimes to hustle their passage, but their gambling venture fails and when they steal the gate receipts from a stadium wrestling match they mistakenly take the wrong strongbox. They succeed at last when Mory robs a rich gay man (Ousseynou Diop, the director's brother) coming onto to him in his villa, and escapes in his roadster. But only one of the dreamers will manage to take the ocean voyage on a liner to Paris and have a chance to return rich and famous to the hometown.

REVIEWED ON 8/30/2009       GRADE: B+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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