Atlantics (2019) Poster

(2019)

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10/10
very feminine film which this man enjoyed
trpuk196820 October 2019
Maybe a little slow for some however worked well and rewarded my patience. Far from being confused as to what genre it is, it seemed pretty clear to me it's a love / ghost story set in contemporary Dakar, Senegal. There's something of a social commentary / realist element and for me it was interesting opening a window on to the lives of young Senegalese women, as well as the customs of an Islamic marriage in West Africa. There's a nice shot of the girls walking along the beach, dressed up to go to the bar, very much like their contemporaries would in any other major city - they wouldn't look out of place in Manchester say and that connecting felt nice, emphasising how much more we have in common than the differences.

There's repeating shots of a misty sea - the sea in Freudian terms symbolises the mother. The central character, a young woman getting married with the expectations of eventual motherhood. If the sea here is the mother it's also the cause of death - her true love, not the man she'll be marrying, has apparently become one of the many drowned in the mediterranean, making the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe in the hope of a better life. In death is life and so on. This is a movie working more on symbolism and allusion rather than straightforward narrative arc. The sterility of a marriage built upon status and material possessions is contrasted with the vitality of a relationship built upon truth and love - the emptiness of the marriage bed, the sterility of the white room, the bland surroundings of the upscale bar where Omar drinks fruit juice from a straw, child like, perhaps a comment about the infantilising of the supposedly sophisticated.

The director produces something properly cinematic with superb composition, backed up with a marvellous synthesizer score, some very nice moody shots of the city at night. This film works best on mood and atmosphere, attempts at shoe horning it into the conventions of narrative are liable to be frustrated. You need to open yourself up and try to empathise with the character, the lead actress is fantastic in the emotions she conveys through expression and body language. It's a film using the language of cinema as I say, symbolism, allusion. You need to 'feel' this film I think, it will frustrate intellectual analysis and to do so misses the point. It's there to be experienced. It won't be for everyone. Still, I'm delighted to see the torch of the art movie now carried forward by a female Senegalese director and her team who can rightfully take their place in a distinguished canon of Senegalese and indeed African film artists.
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8/10
Enigmatic Ghost Story
evanston_dad5 December 2019
An enigmatic film that unfolds like a satisfying ghost story.

Set in Dakar, Senegal, the film's main female protagonist is Ada, in love with Suleiman but promised in an arranged marriage to the wealthy Omar. Suleiman goes missing with a bunch of other men who set sail across the Atlantic for Spain and better opportunities, and the film is largely about the women they leave behind to think about them and possibly mourn for them. But the ghost story part comes in when mysterious occurrences suggest that the spirits of the men may be possessing various townspeople and carrying out the men's wishes in their physical absence.

Like many films I've seen this year, a theme in "Atlantics" is the disparity between the haves and the have nots. Omar promises Ada a life of sterile comfort, but Suleiman offers love and affection, if economic hardship. It's also a window into the world of those we hear about in the news but rarely see as people, those who emigrate to other places in an attempt to find something better. And it's also about the few choices available to women living in certain parts of the world. But none of this is communicated to us through preaching or lecturing. The movie is more than anything an ethereal love story.

Grade: A-
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6/10
A confusion of genres
euroGary9 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
'Atlantics' is a film that confusingly shifts genres. It starts as a social drama, when we meet Ada and Souleiman, a young couple in Sรฉnรฉgal. They arrange to meet in a bar one night, but on arrival Ada discovers Souleiman and his friends, frustrated at not being paid for a number of months for their work on a building site, have set sail in a small boat for Spain. This leads to several tedious scenes of Ada moping about, but she still has options: she is, after all, just days away from her wedding to the wealthy and flash Omar.

At this point the film shifts into a police procedural, as Omar's house catches fire and a young, impatient police officer becomes convinced Souleiman is the culprit. Then the film arrives at its final destination - that of supernatural thriller - when the detective and several of Ada's friends contract a mysterious illness.

The lead role of Ada is played by Mame Bineta Sane, but I can not help wondering if one of the young women playing her friends would have done a better job: perhaps it is an attempt to portray Ada's misery, but Sane delivers many of her lines with little apparent enthusiasm - and if the lead actress is not interested in the film, why should the viewer be? Actually the film is engrossing in terms of the mysterious illness and whether Ada and Souleiman will be reunited. And a film set in non-English speaking Africa is always going to be unusual to Western audiences. So it is worth seeing at least once.
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9/10
Beuatiful
xamanijnr17 May 2019
I love the standard and team you worked with to create this. I am happy this movie has a nomination already. cheers
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9/10
Eerily genius!
luvbru-740819 November 2019
A definite must watch, one of the best I've seen this year and glad I walked into this without reading what this movie was about. Unexpected and excellent! Can't wait for the next one...well deserving of all accolades, BRAVO! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
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10/10
Wonderful, engaging story
ogomez-641715 December 2019
Well done. Different story than what Hollywood prescribes. Watch it, it's worth it.
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9/10
Chilling love story
catherinecolbourne-9223710 December 2019
Atlantics tells a story of young love and unbearable loss against the backdrop of economic inequality and financial desperation that leads young men to risk their lives attempting to cross sea to a better life and the women who are left behind to cope alone. Great performances from the leads and haunting cinematography- an original take on a tragic story.
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A problematic modern love story with classic themes accompanied by ghosts.
jdesando9 December 2019
Set against the contrasts of modern Dakar, both poverty and progress, Atlantics is an endearing love story and a challenging ghost tale. It speaks of love's enduring allure and the cost of true love with the modern world's disdain for simplicity and virtue.

Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) loves Souleiman (Traore), a construction worker who hasn't been paid in three months. They are beautiful people worthy of Romeo and Juliet and just as star-crossed. Ada is doomed to marry the rich Omar (Babacar Sylla), a situation envied by almost everyone but Ada, for whom the rich life with a man she doesn't love holds no allure.

So far so good because she'll marry Omar while Souleiman is lost at sea going to Spain, where he hoped for wages. That's about the most sense in the film because the strange reappearance of Souleiman later in the film will challenge your sense of logic while he appears with others as ghosts, who are probably responsible for the fires set at Ada's new home.

Director Mati Diop, with a gift for weaving the real with the magical, takes a leisurely cinematic stroll through the tragedy, keeping the dialogue simple enough to read at the bottom of the screen while the lovers are talking or loving. The images of Muejiza Tower help to emphasize the theme of change and empowerment.

The investigation of the fires and strange appearances gets mixed leading to slight confusion of identities. Yet, that's the point: the loss of true love can upend any life, and the confusion of friends and family about a marriage can contribute to the tragedy that may ensue.

Meanwhile multiple, maybe too many, images of the rolling surf and setting sun can crowd the screen with too much imagery and not enough insightful dialogue. Atlantics is a lyrical film with classic ideas about love and change, simple and strong while it stays in reality. The magical doesn't work that well when so much crushing reality dominates this parched but progressive landscape.
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