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Little Senegal

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Original title
Little Senegal
Running time
93 min.
Algeria Algeria
Olivier Lorelle, Rachid Bouchareb
Safy Boutella
Benoît Chamaillard, Youcef Sahraoui
Co-production Algeria-France-Germany;
3B Productions, France 2 Cinema, Taunus Film-Produktions GmbH, Canal+
Drama | Racism. Family Relationships
Synopsis / Plot
This beautifully photographed, touching film follows Alloune, a man who gives tours of the Senegal coastline where long ago his ancestors where imprisoned and shipped across the Atlantic in the slave trade. Through a slender doorway looking out to the wide ocean beyond, participants in Alloune's tour are moved, saddened, and quieted by the thought of what once was. Then one day, Alloune decides that he must track the path of his own ancestors, and so he travels to the southern United States. He wanders from one former plantation to the next, asking questions, looking in libraries, and researching an extended family tree, always carrying the weight of history on his small, long, thin frame. Finally his search leads him to New York City, where he locates a young nephew, and then a female cousin who is about his same age, in her fifties. Taking a job for his cousin as a security guard at her Harlem newspaper stand, Alloune begins the difficult task of adapting to city life. The relationship between Alloune and his cousin starts off as professional, changes to family relation, and finally ends up as a love affair. However, the distance between Africa and New York, history and present, can never be escaped or forgotten.
2001: Berlin Film Festival: Official Selection
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