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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Kirikou et la Sorciere Film review by M. Schreiber, 1 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Modern Traditions The film, Kirikou et la Sorciere was written and directed by Michel Ocelot in 1998. The film is animated which allows very controversial issues to be brought to light. The film, available in French and English, is an authentic West African story that dares to balance tradition and modernity. The significance of this film is very important in the 21st century, because we must remember the past as well as build a bright future for all mankind. The focus of the film surrounds traditions in West Africa that run very deep, and establish modernity as a dark scary monster that ruins traditions. In the film, the idea of the coexistence of tradition with modernity is made possible as the colors and lighting slowly begin to blend until a balance is reached and then it happens right before your eyes modern traditions are achieved. The balance of tradition and modernity is an ongoing lifelong process; this film is another step towards the beauty that can be achieved when the balance is completed. The execution of the lighting in the film was deliberately dark in the beginning of the film, and in the end of the film the lighting was purposely bright. The film is able to bring to light the horrible oppression suffered by many African societies through its distinctive lighting, and a symbolic cast of characters. The hero and protagonist in the film, Kirikou represents the journey taken to stop the evil and save his town. Evil is represented through a powerful jewel studded sorciere named Karaba, she represents modernity, and she is symbolic of the villain in the hero's journey according to Jung. The film was very successful in proving the world is a better place when forgiveness is in your heart. Kirikou was able to save Karaba from the thorn in her back which allowed her to be free from suffering, agony, and pain. The beginning of the story may have been dark and dreary, however in they all lived happily ever after. A specific audience To which this film would appeal would be college level adults eager to have equality and traditions be a part of their lives.

Ca Twiste A Poponguine review by Melissa Schreiber, 16 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


The film, Ca Twiste A Popenguine, was directed by, Moussa Sene Absa's in 1993. The title of the film translates into Rocking Popenguine, and this African tale is equivalent to Spike Lee's Crooklyn or George Lucas's American Graffiti. In, Ca Twiste A Popenguine, Senegalese teenagers grow up on the carefree beaches of Popenguine and dream of their futures. The educator of the school and the town, Monsieur Benoit suffers a great identity crisis, and the solution to his crisis is the healing provided by his students and the people of Popenguine. The teenagers in the film are given many names and they are always aware of who they are, and most importantly they know they belong to Popenguine. Monsieur Benoit, on the other hand, doesn't know where belongs and by the power of the people Monsieur Benoit is able to heal. The children are symbolic of modernity and tradition combining in perfect harmony. "Universal civilization is the fruit of give and take." Monsieur Benoit's struggles are in contrast and ironic of the children's lack of struggle to belong. Monsieur Benoit's crisis is that he struggles with belonging and deciding where he fits in the world. Monsieur Benoit crisis is solved by the traditions of Popenguine society, and he is able to heal because of the strength of the Wolof language.

The film is narrated by a young boy named Bacc. Bacc has no parents, and his grandmother raises him, "You are the son of Popenguine, the whole town loves you, and we are all your parents." Bacc enjoys this identity, and understands his life with no parents doesn't mean he doesn't belong. The influences of the Senegalese children were popular American singers such as, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown. These songs were played in the film during scenes of playful young children running on the beach. Yet, when the tone of the film changed to important matters, the musical influences changed. In one scene, the people of Popenguine sang through the streets slowly marching together singing in Wolof to Monsieur Benoit. The town wanted to express their love to Monsieur Benoit, and solve his identity crisis. The Wolof language showed Monsieur that tradition embraces him and the people of Popenguine wanted to adopt him as they had adopted Bacc. Monsieur Benoit, the French teacher, was struggling with belonging and he was determined to colonize the youth of Senegal. However, in the end the Wolof language overpowered Monsieur Benoit and taught him how to blend tradition and modernity and finally belong. The teenagers in Senegal, were able to balance many different cultural influences and still understand who they were and who they wanted to become.

The film, Ca Twiste A Popenguine, was a light comedy and provided deep insights to growing up in Senegal. This film was bittersweet, and had a very deep message. Although the film is in French and Wolof the language is not a barrier and this film should be seen by all college students and adults willing to understand another culture. This film was beautiful, and even though it was low budget and many of the actors were not skilled, it was very touching and Popenguine definitely rocked Monsieur Benoit's world.

Entre nos (2009)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Entre Nos film review M. Schreiber, 7 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Her Shoes The 2009 film Entre Nos, which means between us, is the real life of a mother who has immigrated to the United States from Colombia. The film was written and directed by Paola Mendoza and Gloria La Morte. The Entre Nos cast features the director, Paola Mendoza, with, Sebastian Villada Lopez, Laura Montana Cortez, Sarita Chaudhury, and Andres Munar. The significance of this film is that it relates to people on 2011. The film acts as a metaphor for the 21st century. Life can be a struggle and today we cope with the love and guidance from our families.

Mendoza plays Mariana, the wife and mother who had just arrived in Queens New York, speaking only Spanish. The protagonist's character deliberately restricts her to set a tone of empathy and hope. The tone is established in the beginning of the film when we realize Mariana's husband will not be returning from Miami, and an avalanche of obstacles begins to appear. The love a mother has for her children is the overarching theme; this love is unconditional and significant to create an empathetic tone of courage and survival. Determined to overcome and pursue the American Dream, Mariana demonstrates the power of a mother's love will not tolerate failure. In the La Pieta scene, the film imitates Michelangelo's famous marble sculpture. The scene focuses on Mariana with her children on a park bench, empathetic and hopeful tones reach out to the audience. The camera focuses in on Mariana and her children in their darkest hour and the lighting highlights the mother as though God is giving them a night light. The children in the film were real, (I have 2 daughters), they needed protection and this scene designates their mother with the power to succeed. Mendoza plays the mother I hope I could be if I was in her shoes. This film is for all adults who value their family and the commitment required to protect them.

Like Water for Chocolate by Melissa Schreiber, 28 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Melissa Schreiber Professor: Dr. R. E. Benander ENGL222 23 Feb 11 Food is Life! The 1992 film Like Water for Chocolate is a delicious and spicy treat for the 21st century to enjoy. A different genre is represented in this film; magical realism is alive in Like Water for Chocolate. Magical realism is the juxtaposition of food as emotions and emotions are heat and passion that food creates if prepared properly. Traditionally, in Mexican culture water is brought to a boil and then milk chocolate is added to make hot chocolate, the boiling point is the key to magical realism. The chef of the De la Garza family is Nacha and her wisdom guides the protagonist, Tita, throughout her life. "Eat my child; food will make it hurt less," Nacha told Tita to teach her the most important ingredient of her life will be love. Magical realism is an emotional outlet that can allow many different perspectives to be presented. The boiling point represents passion through which emotions are able explode. The food throughout the film is real, and the ingredients are the fantastic remedies of life. "Broths can cure any type of illness," Chencha reminded Tita. This film is Titas journey into becoming a woman, although restricted in many ways Tita is able to escape her oppression through her desire for cooking and individualism. The film reaches these desires through lighting effects and sepia tones, are soft touches of reality.

Like Water for Chocolate is the recipe for Tita life, her journey is always scorched by others and her water boils over. Tita learned to overcome tears in order to slowly become individualized. By placing an onion on your head, Nacha explained to Tita the secret to stopping tears. In order for Tita to become free from oppression she must face her ingredients and find strength within to finish her recipe. All young women need a chef to teach them how to properly boil water and reach their goals. The recipes for life are the ingredients added with love mixed slowly, to create a meal that touches the soul. The beauty of the film Like Water for Chocolate symbolizes Tita's journey and her inner desires for individualism. In the end, her journey is completed because food has freed her soul, and others desire to imitate her recipes. In the final scene, Esparanza's daughter Tita ends by saying, "My Mother, how I miss her cooking. The smell of her kitchen. Her talking while she prepared the meals. Her Christmas rolls. Mine never come out like hers. For some reason I can't make myself stop crying when I make them. It must be that I am as sensitive to onions as Tita, my great aunt. She'll continue to live as long as someone continues to cook her recipes." I believe the entire 21st century should see this film and allow magical realism to let them escape from everyday life. I also believe women would appreciate the beauty of each scene and to watch a girl grow into a woman and become a role model.