Two films seen over the past few weeks. The first,“12 Years a Slave”, directed by Steve McQueen, a hot favourite to win Oscars, is the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man, living in Upstate New York. Solomon falls foul of some kidnappers, in 1841, and is sold into slavery on the southern plantations of the United States.
I suspect this is a very Holywoodised version of Solomon’s true story. Every last drop of emotion is squeezed from the audience during its 134 minutes.
The film is about 15 minutes too long and Solomon’s eventual release is a little far fetched. A chance journeyman preacher, played by Brad Pitt, stops by the plantation and helps out for a short while. Solomon tells him his story and asks him to contact his family. Meanwhile the plantation boss , played by Michael Fassbender, continues to abuse his slaves both male and female.
When Solomon’s friend, from upstate New York, rides in and claims that Solomon is a free man, the Boss takes it with very little dispute. This is the man who has half killed his slaves. Solomon is returned to the bosom of his family and lives happily ever after.
Material for an Oscar – who knows?
The other film “Afrika’Aoili” is a little gem, directed by Christian Phlibert. Jean-Marc has just retired having sold his bistro. He agrees, hesitatingly, to go on holidays, to Senegal with his friend Momo. On arrival in Senegal they meet Modou, a taxi driver, who takes on the task of introducing the pair to Africa.
(Click picture to watch the trailer)This is the REAL Africa as we knew it. The taxi itself was a typical beat up, stitched together, multicoloured vehicle which they had to push away from the kerbside at the airport. Out on the laterite covered roads they bumped their way to their accomodation having changed a punctured wheel. The “hotel is still under construction!
Jean-Marc is not used to the simple life in Africa and is quite cross, at the beginning, each time something goes wrong. Their first meal is classic African, a big tin bowl into which everyone dips their hands to eat. Jean-Marc finds it disgusting. Modou is really disappointed. He only knows life in Africa and can’t see what the problem is.
He continues to take them to meet his family and friends who are all really welcoming. Then they visit a National Park where they behave like naughty schoolboys. Modou covers the lads in black mud and he covers himself in yellow sand. A really warm friendship evolves between the three guys.
I am not sure how long the film was but it flew by and it made me laugh.
Go see it if you get a chance…