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L'Afrance

Screening on Film
Free Admission
Directed by Alain Gomis.
With Djolof Mbengue, Delphine Zingg, Samir Guesmi.
France/Senegal, 2001, 35mm, color, 90 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: Mille et une productions

L’Afrance tells a tragically familiar tale of victimization by uncaring immigration laws as it follows the vertiginous voyage of an idealistic Senegalese exchange student, El-Hadj, studying in Paris and abruptly transformed into an illegal immigrant when he carelessly allows his visa to expire. Offering El-Hadj as an emblem of the uncertainty faced by so many Africans in Europe, Gomis lingers upon the stark and moral decisions that force El-Hadj to question his national identity and allegiances while destabilizing his closest relationship. The film’s striking opening—the recording and playing back of a cassette “letter” from the student’s parents in Senegal—stands alone as an evocative poem of the sense of displacement and longing that defines so many immigrants’ experiences.

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The McMillan Stewart Fellowship:
Alain Gomis

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