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Marie Augustine Diatta,
Mame Ndoumbé Diop
A once-prosperous Senegalese village has been falling further into poverty year by year until the village's elders are reduced to selling town possessions to pay debts. Linguère, a former resident and local beauty, now very rich, returns to this, the village of her birth. The elders hope that she will be a benefactor to the village. To encourage her generosity, they appoint a local grocer, Dramaan, as mayor--who once courted her and will now try to persuade her to help. In fact, Linguère has returned with the intention of sharing her millions with the village but only in return for an unexpected action. This plot twist brings human folly and cynicism into sharp focus. Written by
Bruce Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A stunning adaptation of Friedrich Durrenmatt's coldly brilliant play, The Visit, HYENES (hyenas) actually improves on the story by transposing the action to a Senegalese village. A fabulously wealthy old woman, who was born in the village but run out in disgrace as pregnant youth, returns and promises the villagers a fortune on one condition: that they kill the man who ruined her, an aged man who is the town's popular, good-natured grocer.
By moving the story from Durrenmatt's European setting to a dirt-poor African village, all the tensions are heightened, and the director Mambety sets the huge issues in high relief against the desert backdrop: justice, betrayal, revenge, guilt, greed (or need?), loyalty, and charity are played out in a searing (and searingly beautiful) desert, filmed with the grace of Bergman and written with the wryness of Bunuel. There are no good guys. It's up to you if there are bad guys. Everyone is a predator.
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