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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 <email@example.com>
A Very Surreal African Movie with Political Overtones
Hyenes is a foreign film from Senegal adapted from a play, The Visit, by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dirrenmatt. It is spoken in the local language with English subtitles.
This film is surreal. It makes political statements and explains how a poor, failing village becomes prosperous by the greed of it's residents and the revenge of one of it's former community members.
Linguere Ramatou, played by Ami Diakhate, was once a young women who left her home village under less than honorable terms and has now become wealthy. She returns to her village to bestow a large sum of money so that the poor village can become a prosperous city. However, she seeks revenge upon her once seducer Dramaan, played by Mansour Diouf.
Dramaan had abandoned Ramatou when they were young forcing her to go to the city to engage in "the oldest profession." Now, Dramaan is an elder grocer granting good on credit to the unemployed villagers whom come to his store much to the displeasure of his wife and co-store keeper.
The villagers, learning that Ramatou is returning after many years to bestow money upon the village, appoints Dramaan the local mayor and instructs him to once again "woo" Ramatou so that she will make a large contribution to the village of Colobane.
What happens next is a surreal tale of how Dramaan fawns over his once love and her reactions to this lover from long ago.
The simple actions of Dramaan are often funny as well as the actions of the village's local officials. Ramatou is willing to provide the large endowment to the village on one condition. You need to see the movie to know that condition and how a "soul" is traded for the donation.
The village customs are interesting for Westerners whom may have little or no knowledge of some African customs. It is a little difficult to follow the fast movie English subtitles while listening to the dialogue in Senegalese. The film may need to be viewed more than once for the Westerner to fully comprehend the story and motivations of the principal players.
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