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Kirikou and its Morals
1 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Kirikou et la Sorcière is a story that has many morals. For example, the story demonstrates that even the smallest person can be a hero; and also that it is because he is small that he has not been corrupted to the ways of the world and into accepting his lot in life. Kirikou has courage, wisdom, and curiosity that helps him to save his village from the Sorceress, but also the Sorceress from her evil power. He is small, but he is not afraid to do what is right, and what has to be done. Since Kirikou was so tiny he was able to crawl into the water spout and find out what had stolen the water from his villagers. He was able to crawl through the underground maze to see the Wise Old Man of the Mountain. One does not have to be big to be brave.

Another moral is that relying on one's family for help is not a bad thing. Kirikou seeks help from his mother throughout the whole movie, especially in the end. He loves his mother very much. Kirikou also seeks help from his grandfather who helps him many times as well with his wisdom. A family is there to help whenever help is needed, and Kirikou was not so grown up, though of course he wanted to be, that he would not ask for help when he needed it.

An important moral is forgiveness. The Sorceress was evil and very cruel to the villagers. She supposedly ate their men, stolen their water, gold, and children, but in reality she only did one and tired to do another. She was cruel; however, Kirikou saves her from the evil power that has corrupted her. When he brings her back to the villagers they refuse to accept that she is no longer evil and they threaten to kill the Sorceress and Kirikou. She was truly sorry for the things she did while under the influence of the evil power, the villagers should have given her a chance to prove her sincerity.

Though for some this movie would be laughable because of its graphics and how the story is written. The women of the village are drawn with varying shapes and sizes that are hilarious. Also the village elder is portrayed as a complete imbecile. However, one has to look beyond the literal text to see the metaphorical meanings. The director uses the colors and graphics as symbols. The colors in the village and around it very beautiful; they are so bright and vivid. They symbolize life and goodness. The colors around the Sorceress hut are dark, dreary colors symbolizing evil and ugliness.

This movie would be best for little children because they will not pick apart the movie looking for bad directing or horrible graphics. Those things do not matter to children. They will see that Kirikou is a small boy that does great things, and they will love it. Also they are more likely to pick up on the morals of the story than adults who always think meanings have to be hidden, and who cannot see the easy things. Of course, many adults will like this movie if they like challenging their minds to see beyond the surface of the story into what it really is all about.
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Colonization of Children
17 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Ça Twiste À Popenguine is a 90 minute film that is both funny and depressing. It is funny because the little boy Baac is very smart and he uses that to his advantage by playing the two gangs, the Kings and the Ins, against each other. Also, the way the villagers are dressed is funny. The boys wear bright colored bell bottoms with matching shirts, colors like orange and yellow. The depressing part comes from the fact that the children have been colonized. They want to be European or American singers and even have singers like Ray Charles and Eddy Mitchell as nicknames. It also doesn't help that in school the children are beat by a témoin, a stick, if they speak their native language of Wolof.

The film's story line is like Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Condtions in that it is about being taken over by colonialism and whether that is a bad thing or not. In Nervous Conditions it wasn't such a bad thing because there were more advantages to becoming colonized then staying in one's traditional role. The same is true in this film. An example of this is the scene at the European resort. Everything at the resort is depicted as better. The building is stone compared to straw huts. There is a pool and black people have jobs.

A scene that makes colonialism very poignant is when the school teacher, Mr. Benoîr, says to Jabeel that the children are the future. The children are learning to be European in school, in particular French; therefore, the future of Senegal is French.

Ça Twiste À Popenguine is more of a documentary type film. The acting is not very good and the script was either poorly written or non-existent. However, once those small flaws are overlooked, the movie becomes an interesting take on colonialism in Africa and how people react to it. This movie is humorous and enjoyable, yet, when one looks beyond the surface of the story line one will see that there is more going one then it seems. This movie is for people who are interested in colonialism and its effects, but that doesn't mean other people cannot enjoy it too.
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Entre nos (2009)
Beating the Odds
8 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Entre Nos is about a Columbian woman whose husband leaves her and their two children alone in the United States after only being there for two weeks. It is about her struggle to survive in a foreign land where she does not speak the language and jobs are hard to find. Mariana and her children, Gabriel and Andrea, have to make choices that change their whole lives.

This movie pulls at the heart. The family was so happy being together and cooking empanadas. Yet, after the husband leaves Mariana has to face the fact of caring for her children alone. The director depicts this very well. The struggle of trying to find a job and care for her children breaks the heart. Without money Mariana and her children get kicked out of their apartment. This leads to them living on the street where they progressively get dirtier and dirtier, wearing the same clothes. This is great for depicting their struggle, but they still had clean looking hair which takes away from the whole meaning of being homeless.

Also, something that makes this movie sad is the choices the family has to make. Mariana must choose to go through garbage to make money. So do her children. She has to have an abortion because she cannot take care of the baby. The scene in the movie where she bleeds into the bathtub is graphic because it symbolizes how she and her children never had a true beginning to life in America. Gabriel's decision to cut ties with the children in his neighborhood was sad because it symbolizes his acceptance of the life he must live.

The actors do a wonderful job portraying the struggle of being homeless and of being hungry. The emotions they show fit the scenes perfectly; woman's anger at her abandonment, a son's realization that he must now take care of his family, and the woman's acceptance of her abandonment.

Entre Nos is not for the faint of heart. There are scenes that will make a person cry, with both anger and sadness. Yet, this movie is great for those that valve family, love and struggles overcome. This is for those that like happy endings and knowing that everything works out in the end, even when the problems seem insurmountable. If you like this movie you might also enjoy Like Water for Chocolate
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Like Water For Chocolate Book vs. Film
27 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Alfonso Arau's Like Water for Chocolate is a cliff noted version of Laura Esquivel's novel. He shows Tita and Pedro's struggle to be together when outside forces plot to keep them apart, mostly by Tita's mother Mama Elena. The story has passion and pain, love and hate, joy and sadness. These emotions are depicted through the food that Tita cooks. Arau does an excellent job with representing the emotions Esquivel put in her novel. A great example for the pain and sorrow Tita feels, which gets transferred into her food, is at the wedding of Tita's sister Rosaura to Tita's love, Pedro. Tita had cried while making the wedding cake, and when the guests eat it they feel what Tita felt.

However, Arau's film is not as well made as it could have been. The scenes are edited badly; they are choppy and dark. The actors do not portray the characters in the book very well either. Mama Elena in the book was more verbal and physical with her abuse, while in the movie she showed her disapproval with cold, stony stares. Also, Pedro has more of a presence in the movie when in the novel he was not as important as Tita. Consequently, Arau does not follow the book in that he changes a part of the ending scene, which is bothersome to those who have read the book.

The most important aspect of this movie is the food that embodies the emotions of Tita. Through food Tita is revealed as a woman of vast emotions. When unable to verbally express her love and desire for Pedro she makes a dish of quails in rose petal sauce that says what she cannot. She tells her neighbor Paquita Lobo that her chiles in walnut sauce are made with love which is what makes them so good. After eating the chiles many people went off to be with their loved one.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. Tita and Pedro endure much hardship in order to be together. Yet, this movie is good for those who like passion and love to overcome adversity. Also for those who have a great love of food. Another thing about this film that might be of interest is the different side to the Mexican cinema it shows; instead violence and death, this film has a happy, romantic ending.
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