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HomeReview‘The Story Of Souleyman’: Cannes Review

‘The Story Of Souleyman’: Cannes Review

Dir: Boris Lojkine. France. 2024. 93mins

The vagaries of the gig financial system are united with a migrant story in Boris Lojkine’s lean and taut asylum-seeker drama. Starting in direction of the top, we meet Guinean asylum seeker Souleymane Sangaré (spectacular newcomer Abou Sangare) as he waits to be known as for the interview that can decide whether or not he’s granted residency in France. It’s a quick second of stillness earlier than Lojkine propels us again into the previous 48 hours, as Souleymane tries to organize for the appointment concurrently criss-crossing the streets of Paris as a part of his bike supply job.

Non-professional Sangare is magnetic all through,

Lojkine has tackled migrant tales earlier than in Hope, which gained the SACD prize in Cannes Movie Competition’s Critics’ Week in 2014. Now he’s again within the pageant’s Un Sure Regard, which is prone to be simply the primary cease on an extended pageant run for a movie with a Dardennes aesthetic that provides stress, bleeding edge emotion and social commentary on a sizzling button subject. Arthouse distribution can also be potential additional alongside the highway. 

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We’ll see what occurs to Souleymane throughout his interview analysis of his outdated life, however not earlier than we’ve been totally immersed in his present one. And in case you thought the gig financial system was dangerous sufficient already, Lojkine – writing with Inshallah A Boy co-scripter Delphine Agut – reveals it guarantees a recent stage of hell for the undocumented. Unable to earn cash straight due to his asylum standing, Souleymane is working as a bootleg sub-contractor, his wages going to Emmanuel (Emmanuel Yovanie) in return for a reduce. That money, in flip, is because of be handed to Barry (Alpha Oumar Sow), a form of migrant ‘fixer’ who helps asylum seekers create the right story to theoretically beat the system.

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Lojkine emphasises this precariousness whilst he lets the willpower of his protagonist take centre stage. That Souleymane’s interview plan relies on a lie provides an additional stage of stress to a movie that has little interest in portraying anybody as a satan or saint. There’s exploitation right here but additionally compassion – usually coming from the identical particular person. 

The movie emphasises the anxiety-inducing depth of all the things in Souleymane’s life, from the intricate particulars he’s making an attempt to recollect a few political affiliation he was by no means truly a part of to the determined pelt via the streets as he tries to catch the final bus again to his hostel. Cinematographer Tristan Galand’s kinetic hand-held digicam energetically trails Souleymane, so we actually really feel the trouble the Guinean is placing in. Resting on sturdy sound design slightly than a musical rating, the general impact is to immerse us within the unforgiving world Souleymane is biking via. The strain factors for Souleymane don’t simply finish in France – he’s additionally fearful about his mum and girlfriend again dwelling. The long run is unsure, however the previous is now past the purpose of no return. 

Lojkine and Agut give a superb sense of the African diaspora with out shedding their focus. We see Souleymane encountering numerous different migrants throughout his day, some in a greater place than he, some worse, however these snatches of dialog are temporary. “I don’t have time to speak,” he tells them. There’s additionally a smattering of consumers, from the frail to the belligerent, the brevity of those interactions including to the sense of verisimilitude with out turning into a distraction from the central character examine.

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Once we return to the  interview, with an official performed by Nina Meurisse (who was in Lodjkine’s Camille) bringing vital nuance to a small position, the stillness and focus is intensified by all of the motion that has gone earlier than. Non-professional Sangare is magnetic all through, whether or not on the saddle or an interview sizzling seat.

Manufacturing corporations: Unité

Worldwide gross sales: Pyramide, elagesse@pyramidefilms.com

Producers: Bruno Nahon

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Screenplay: Boris Lojkine, Delphine Agut

Cinematography: Tristan Galand

Manufacturing design: Geraldine Stivet

Enhancing: Xavier Sirven

Principal solid: Abou Sangare, Nina Meurisse, Alpha Oumar Sow, Emmanuel Yovanie, Younoussa Diallo, Ghislain Mahan, Mamadou Barry, Yaya Diallo, Keito Diallo


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