Quick, name your favorite Senegalese film!
Nothing comes to mind? It could very well be Atlantics in just over a month’s time. The Grand Prix winner at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film is the feature debut of French-born actress Mati Diop. As writer and director, Diop shot the film in her father’s (musician Wasis Diop) hometown of Dakar, Senegal.
Atlantics has it all: forbidden romance, police investigations, revenge… ghosts. The film looks to be a haunting and atmospheric tale that mixes grounded realism with elements of the supernatural. It also appears to delve into social commentary, as a migration decision is what puts the narrative in motion.
Though it stars a cast of unknowns stepping in front of a camera for the first time (Mame Bineta Sane, Traore, Amadou Mbow, etc.), reviews have been stellar, with some predicting it could be an Oscar contender. Not bad for a movie whose characters largely speak Wolof (native Senegalese language).
If nothing else, this should be a beautifully shot movie giving exposure to a part of the world generally unfamiliar to westerners.
You can check out a trailer and an official synopsis below. Atlantics will premiere on Netflix this November 29.
Here is the official synopsis for Atlantics:
After a group of unpaid construction workers disappears at sea one night in search of a better life abroad, the women they have left behind in Dakar are overwhelmed with a mysterious fever. Ada, 17, secretly grieves for her love Souleiman, one of the departed workers, but she has been promised to another man. After a fire breaks out on her wedding night, a young policeman is sent to investigate the crime. Little does he know that the aggrieved workers have come back as haunting, possessive spirits. While many of them seek vengeance for their unpaid labor, Souleiman has come back for a different purpose – to be with his Ada one last time.