“Despite a high predictability level, ‘The Pirogue’ succeeds on the strengths of its nicely delineated characters and first-rate production values. Even if some roles are only cursorily sketched (there are a lot of guys in this boat), they convey personality and a hunger for opportunity that’s hard to keep at an emotional distance. The topnotch widescreen lensing gives prominence to faces; the term “illegal immigrant” has taken on such negative connotations, with a consequent denial of specificity, that it’s salutary to gaze at the human face of the problem.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety
Saturday, Nov. 9 — 4-6 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 10 — 7-9:30 p.m.
Moussa Touré’s trenchant chronicle of a sea trek from West Africa to Europe lays bare the incalculable perils of immigration. His livelihood threatened, veteran fisherman Baye Laye reluctantly agrees to be the captain of the long, narrow canoe of the title, which is illegally transporting roughly 30 people from Dakar, Senegal, to Spain. Though each man (and one woman) aboard this vessel has a particular reason for fleeing his native land in order to start anew in the West, all are hoping to escape the grim economic realities at home. Without a trace of sentimentality, Touré presents these hopeful passengers as a diverse mix of ages, languages, religions, and backgrounds united by the goal of wanting a better life for themselves and/or their families. Yet the tenuous camaraderie these travelers formed at the journey’s beginning unravels quickly after they encounter unimaginable dangers at sea. Unlike most films about immigration, The Pirogue refuses to speak in generalities or in hazy ideologies: it presents the brutal realities that thousands of Africans—and millions worldwide—face in the effort to leave one land for another.
Eric Névé, David Bouchet.
Based on the novel A l’assaut
des vagues de l’Atlantique by
Baye Laye: Souleymane Seye Ndiaye
Lansana: Laity Fall
Abou: Malaminé ‘Yalenguen’ Dramé
Samba: Balla Diarra
Barry: Salif ‘Jean’ Diallo