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Un transport en commun (2009)

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This sweet musical takes us on a cross-country trip through Senegal, from Dakar to Saint Louis in a battered taxi, as passengers sing their stories.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Umban Gomez de Kset ...
Médoune Sall
Mbègne Kassé ...
Anne Jeanine Barboza ...
Bigué N'Doye ...
Antoinette Barry
Adja Fall ...
Antoine Diandy ...
Naïma Gaye ...
Marième Diop ...
Bakary 'Vieux' Cissé ...
Gaspard Manesse ...
Yakhoub Ba ...
Abdoulaye Diakhaté ...
Monsieur N'Diaye
Mame Hindou Diop ...
Soeur Souki
Abraham Ba ...
Vendeur chanteur
Aminata Sane ...
Binta (as Aminata Yacine Sane)


This sweet musical takes us on a cross-country trip through Senegal, from Dakar to Saint Louis in a battered taxi, as passengers sing their stories.

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Release Date:

9 August 2009 (Switzerland)  »

Also Known As:

Saint Louis Blues  »

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Edited into Africa First: Volume One (2011) See more »

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Misfired whimsy
2 August 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

SAINT LOUIS BLUES is set in Senegal, and turns out to be a mind-numbing exercise in whimsy. The French love this sort of thing (see: 8 WOMEN as a prime example), where people burst out in song or dance in a realistic setting, unlike the elaborate MGM musicals of old. But director Dyana Gaye delivers embarrassing amateurism.

The plot hook, meager as it is, concerns a group of travelers headed by cab to the town of Saint Louis, near Dakar. They share the fare, and later admit a seventh passenger (a Caucasian guy). In an extremely dubious interracial love-at-first-sight shtick, the white fellow is smitten with a hairdresser, who is trying to escape from her domineering aunt who owns the salon and is traveling separately on a parallel route.

Nothing much happens, except the untalented cast singing off-key and shuffling along in the most perfunctory of would-be dance steps, sashays and arm waving, that would have Alvin Ailey rolling in his grave. I name drop the legendary dancer and choreographer merely to contrast with real talent; when one watches folks like these clunking along without a clue, it is major groan-time.

The lyrics, written by the director, are banal in the extreme, and the film proves exceedingly pointless, even as a window onto another culture. I had seen many quality Ousmane Sembene films about Senegal throughout the 1970s when he was riding high on the film festival circuit, and this latter-day effort does not measure up to the high standards he set.

I caught this at a New York Public Library festival of African movies, and it was perhaps the weakest in the bunch.

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