Manga and Sorry love one another, and defy the taboos surrounding homosexuality. Their families manage to force them apart. Manga attempts a relation with a white woman, but ends up going back to Sorry, who is married with a child… After incest in Denko and child suicide in Minka, Mohamed Camara attacks another taboo. In his effort to demystify the subject, however, he inadvertently ends up pushing it straight back in the closet. The trouble with the film is not its discourse, which courageously shows homosexuality to an authentic love, and calls for tolerance, but rather the way it is handled. Aside from the rigid acting of the characters, who are ill at ease in a too theatrical screenplay, and the drawing out of certain scenes, it is the visuals that do the discourse a disservice. The heads singled out against black backgrounds are reminiscent of the Harcourt photos of ecstatic actors that once hung in the corridors and stairways of theatres and cinemas, whose smooth and ethereal faces were illuminated by the soft focus lighting. By trying to penetrate the mystery, the deep secret of love too hard, by trying to write his film too much, Camara strips his characters to the bone, robbing them of the humanity that could have made them seem sensitive, the movement that could have captivated us, that necessary incarnation which could have made them seem less sacred, and thereby moved us. Even when Manga and Oumou try to make love, the camera, which stops at discreetly skimming over the bodies, only manages to capture the idea of the flesh, and ends up desexualizing the act, wrapping it back up in a layer of clothing. Whilst the choice of a white body is judicious in terms of the screenplay, it reinforces the distance. In this respect Dakan offers a striking contrast with Woubi chéri, the documentary by Philip Brooks and Laurent Bocahut, in which the Ivoirian homosexuals and transvestites are alive and kicking, are vibrant human beings, rather than mythological heros.
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