Monthly Archives: January 2013

3. ‘Touki-Bouki’ creative

I thought I would try to write a poem to represent the creative side to Touki-Bouki.  I found the long, handheld shots on the abattoir scenes upsetting and tried to represent that with the refrain and the single long sentence.  As I have said in a previous blog post, I am not a fan of writing, but I think it is good to test yourself.

 

Touki-Bouki

The rope cuts in to his side as
He is laid on a brown, caked floor
And his wild eyes glint in
industrial lights as the men hold his head back
To reveal his sinuous grey neck
And hack with the unsharpened knife
To reveal the red muscular pipe
That moves and breathes
And gushes with a thick, viscous redness
As the rope cuts in to his side.

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3. Joint 93rd – ‘Touki-Bouki’

I have never watched a film from Senegal.  Shamefully I have seen very few films from the whole continent of Africa, which this top one hundred list will hopefully change.  Touki-Bouki is the very reason I started this blog – to try something new and see films I had never heard of.  Brilliantly, I also watched  a restored version of it free on mubi.com.  I have been  a member of this site for a while and it is absolutely amazing.

Touki-Bouki

Touki-Bouki was made in 1973, directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty with a Government grant of $30,000.  It stars Aminata Fall as Aunt Oumy, Ousseynou Diop as Charlie, Magaye Niang as Mory and Mareme Niang as Anta.

The film starts with a rural scene and pipe music, immediately contrasted with a hideous abattoir scene where they slaughter cows by cutting open their windpipes and then city scenes.   Throughout the film there is a contrast between ancient ways and modern life and in the early scenes they kept using sound bridges of modern sounds (traffic, planes) over images of timeless farming or nature.

The style of the film is unusual.  It is really split between a naturalism and consciously filmic.  At some points there doesn’t seem to be any obvious sets or lighting.  The shots (very often long shots or close-ups) linger and frequently handheld.  There is often very little dialogue.  At these points it has a feeling of Cinéma vérité or even Dogme 95 about it.  However, at other points it has a frenetic energy with a pounding soundtrack and juxtaposing montage.  You can really feel the heat and dust of the market scenes and it feels like a French New Wave film, especially when we are following Mory and Anta around – it almost seems a parallel to À bout de souffle.

I loved the way the film never clarified what was dream and reality and instead consistently paralleled the suffering of humans and animals.  There was an hypnotic quality to the montages of cruelty and violence and a desperately heartbreaking ending.  It was made even more so by the stoic and under-played performances.

I found some of the film difficult to watch.  The killing of the animals, although clearly important to the film, was harrowing.  I also found the representation of women, African poverty and gay men difficult to deal with.   The stereotypes were obvious and worryingly negative – especially the portrayal of the gay, rich Charlie.

Creative ideas-
Poem – particularly of the abattoir juxtaposition scene – long sentences, a refrain
Word cloud – chaotic and confused
A juxtaposed portrait of age and modernity.

 

 

 

It’s not about film, but it is ace…

So, I’ve been pretty rubbish with film watching and reading in the last month.  Consequently I haven’t blogged that much; it would have been boring.

Reading wise I have even shelved the Jack Cardiff autobiography.  But I haven’t not been reading.  Okay, it’s not about film, but Steven Pinker’s book about violence: The Better Angels of Our Nature – A History of Violence and Humanity, is amazing.Image

It was featured on the Culture Show as it had been nominated for the Samuel Johnson prize and I was interested.  I then managed to watch the end of one of the thousands of documentaries about the Nazis that are continuously on telly and felt that I really needed to read a book that tried to prove that we are getting less violent.  It felt important that I know that.  Anyway, it is over eight hundred pages long, but I completely recommend it.  I’m going to email him when I am finished and tell him how brilliant it is.

I did also manage to get back on the 100 top films list yesterday and will blog all about Touki-Bouki if I have time tonight.