Sunday, December 30, 2012

Today/Tey (2012)

Director: Alan Gomis
Country: Senegal

Synopsis: Today is the last day of his life. He knows this to be true even though he is strong and healthy. Nonetheless Satché (played by American actor-musician Saül Williams) accepts his imminent death. Walking through the streets of his home town in Senegal he takes in the sites of his past as if he were looking at them for the last time: his parents’ house, his first love, the friends of his youth, his wife and children. Time and again he hears the same reproach: why didn’t he stay in America, where he would have a future? Satché encounters his final moments full of fear but also with a sense of joy. –BIFF

Review: Death is the bestseller mystery of all times. We always welcome any different take on this topic to end all topics. Here, Death is supposed to come looking for a particular individual, having given him sufficient time to prepare. The film opens with Satche opening his eyes, and realizing that this is the last day of his life. His family and friends at first treat him as blessed. But then, he discovers a petty and spiteful side of some of his friends. That is a direct reflection upon the periphery of spirituality, and the deep-rooted crassness of our lives. Allegorically rich, the film is told in a simple, storytelling manner, that conveys most profound ideas.

Gomis manipulates time with the sure touch of a skilled surgeon. Seconds stretch endlessly to urge us to savour the film, plunge into it, squeeze out its essence. This is a textbook film in magical realism. Vivid colours and contours render the visual impact striking. The primal expressions of fear, sadness and curiosity are portrayed faithfully by the lead actor.

A simple premise, which runs in a smooth and unhurried flow. Bold strokes illustrating the cornerstones of the hero’s existence. And expected, yet startling climax. A textbook film, if you consider filmmaking to be storytelling.

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