Atlantics

In a suburb of Dakar, workers on a construction site go without pay for months. They decide to leave the country by boat for a better future in Spain. Among them is Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré), Ada’s lover. But the men never reach Spain. They are presumed dead, lost at sea. Poor Ada (Mama Sane) cannot afford to spend time pining or mourning for her lost love because she’s betrothed, by arranged marriage, to someone else. Omar is wealthy and handsome. The only problem is that Ada’s still thinking of, and worried about, someone else. Oh her wedding day, Ada is withdrawn, depressed, but her friend Fanta (Amina Kane) is seduced by Omar’s beautiful home and its furnishings – particularly what is to the marital bedroom, outfitted in new, luxurious furniture. The wedding is interrupted by a fire, thought to be an act of arson: Omar’s beautiful bed burns.

The next day Issa (Amadou Mbow), a young detective, arrives to investigate. Ada soon finds herself under suspicion, subject to invasive interrogations and even a virginity test. But as Fanta, Issa, and others fall sick, certain people wonder whether this mysterious illness is actually the spirits of the lost men possessing their bodies to exact revenge.

Mati Diop’s film addresses economic disparity and gender inequality but first and foremost it remains a love story, beautiful and ethereal. Claire Mathon’s cinematography gives the film a distinctive feel. Mixing social commentary with the supernatural, Diop may be Senegal’s Jordan Peele, crafting a film that is unexpected and unpredictable, like nothing you’ve seen before.

 

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