1h 30min · Drama, Romance · 10 August 2001
El Hadj is studying in Paris. He is one of the young Senegalese men who have come to Paris since the French colony became independent to get a good education so that he can serve his fatherland on his return. Unexpectedly he is suddenly confronted by a problem with his residence papers, just because he has arranged an extension too late. His pleasant life filled with good prospects has gone in one fell swoop. He faces a dilemma. He can stay illegally in France, the country where he feels at home, where he has his friends, has fallen in love and can drink water from the tap. Or he can return (without graduating) to the 3rd-world country of Senegal to use the knowledge he has acquired. It is not only a practical choice. It comes down to the question of who he is, who he thought he could be. Gomis' impressive feature début looks at the theme of uprooting both on an existential and emotional level. The everyday confrontation with a different culture makes an apparently simple project difficult and chaotic. Gomis: 'Exile means distancing oneself: abroad you are confronted with yourself. Who are we and which of our thoughts can resist the obtrusiveness of the other world? Probably only that which is really our own essence.'
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