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(OPEN AIR) Atlantique

Mati Diop, France, Senegal, Belgium 2019, 104 Min., OV with English subs

Contextualizing Sarah Maldoror’s work through a contemporary representative of African and Afro-diasporic cinema: Mati Diop. Atlantique, honored at Cannes in 2019 with Diop as the first Black female director to take part in the competition, is a bold mix of genres: neorealism, ghost story, a visually stunning and poetic film fairytale told from the perspective of women. Set in a suburb of Dakar, it follows workers on a building site; unpaid for months, they decide to leave the country across the Atlantic in search of a better future. Among them is Souleiman, who will leave behind his lover Ada. A few days after the men's departure, a mysterious fire shakes Ada's wedding party, and the girls in the neighborhood are seized by unexplainable fevers. An exploration of the Atlantic as a symbol for change and life, but also departure and death, Diop states: "The film was born from the realization that it was through fantasy that I wanted to tell a certain story of the disappeared at sea. (...) that emerged when in Dakar in 2009 and feeling the mysterious and disturbing links between the slave trade, colonisation and illegal immigration." (GB)