A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family's houseboy, ... See full summary »
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A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family's houseboy, Protee - a man of great nobility, intelligence and beauty - and the intricate nature of relationships in a racist society. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
Elusive, introspective memories of a childhood in colonial Africa are recalled through the eyes of a self-possessed young girl with the telltale name France. In her calm, observant demeanor she is, herself, almost African, and likewise the film is beautiful and aloof in a way that speaks volumes with a minimum of words. Nothing is ever made explicit, least of all the suppressed attraction between France's young mother, left in charge of a remote homestead while her husband is away on business, and the handsome native houseboy who suffers his servitude with a proud but uneasy forbearance. Writer director Claire Denis shows a strong affinity for the landscapes and people of her adopted continent, maintaining a beguiling ambiguity about who exactly has the upper hand: the French masters or the passive, patient native servants.
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