DVD Grigris

DVD Grigris
DVD Grigris
Run time: 101 min
Rating: 6.1
Genres: Drama
Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Writers: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Stars: Souleymane Démé, Anaïs Monory, Cyril Guei
Storyline
Despite a paralyzed leg, Grigris, 25 year old, dreams of being a dancer. A challenge. But his dreams are dashed when his uncle falls critically ill. To save him, Grigris resolves to work for petrol traffickers.
Details:
Country: Chad, France
Release Date: 10 July 2013 (France)

1 Comment

  1. Grigris, aka Souleyman, is the titular hero of the film. In spite of being hindered by a withered left leg Grigris has become a local dance legend as he crafts unique routines to the pulsating club music. When Grigris dances his leg makes him a unique talent as we see from the film's opening scene and throughout. It is symbolic that Grigris is not disabled by his withered leg in most situations; this is relevant to what the film says of Africa and Chad in particular.

    By day Grigris works with his step father, Ayoub, in Ayoub's shop that offers a variety of services from tailoring to photography. When Mimi comes to have some modelling photos taken to try her luck with an agency, Grigris falls in love. Grigris's life is hard. Strapped for cash, a crisis hits when Ayoub falls ill with a lung infection. The cost of health care pushes Grigris to seek employment opportunities that take him into the world of black market and illegal enterprises. His life is further complicated by his developing relationship with Mimi, a beautiful whore.

    The film is slow and takes its time in developing its story. Dialogue is sparse and functional more than poetic. Grigris is somewhat inscrutable but a compelling figure with surprising physical strength and courage of heart. In the adventures that ensue we are introduced to village life where the hardness of life is overcome not through money but banding together and helping one another through adversities big and small. One of the film's final images is of a burning car in the dry and arid land surrounding the village. The car represents city life with its economic hardships that leave people alone in stark contrast to the financially poor but rich community available in the village.

    Once again an African film maker illustrates how economics, often imposed from without, destroy whilst contrasting the hope that remains within the African country's societies as reflected in its traditions. It is refreshing to find the country is Chad; one of the more impoverished French-speaking countries and less well known. It is with a heavy heart that I read the end credits and discovered how much support and finances were needed from Europe to help make the film and get it distributed. But it is not a heavy heart that the film encourages as Grigris is a survivor who makes the best of what life offers him whether that be in a city where he is Grigris the dancer or a village where he becomes Souleyman, a family man.

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