As a young teen who thought I was in love, I remember sneaking out of my bedroom window, just to grab few more minutes with the guyI thought made my heart skip a beat and sing. Don’t you remember your first true love? That person who gave you butterflies in your stomach at just the thought of him/her walking into a room? Imagine not having the right to choose who makes you feel all fluttery, or worse, ceases to exist all together.
Atlantics tells the story of 17-year-old Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), who is in love with Souleiman (IbrahamaTraore), but has been promised to another man, Omar (Babacar Sylla). A man of wealth and privilege, but no heart. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave Dakar by sea, in hopes of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned and everything changes. Director Mati Diop and I spoke about her cinematic choices, Senegal and Atlantics – take a look and listen
Ada’s girlfriends are hilarious. As she miserably stresses over a loveless marriage, her girls relish in their friend’s newfound opulence seeing it as a house of happiness. Mati Diop’s directorial debut earned her the Palm d’or prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and she is definitely a fresh and unique voice in cinema that has become embraced and much needed. Impressive use of water and the moon propel the mystique in the story line which borders on a zombie apocalypse mixed with a coming of age story. Part love story and part ghost story, one night, Souleiman and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighborhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. Some of the workers even come back claiming revenge and threaten to burn the tower down if the developer does not pay their wages.
Y’all know I am not one for zombies and such, so my eyes were covered for a good portion of those scenes. However, I loved this film simply due to the fact it wasn’t not like anything I had ever seen. It’s a deep film with thought provoking subjects presented in a fresh, unconventional cinematic sensibility making it clear why audiences and filmmakers alike resonated with the it at Cannes. Now streaming on Netflix, Atlantics has been nominated for 2020 Critics Choice and is Senegal’s entry for the Oscar race. Stay tuned.