The village water pump is about to break so Moussa (played by the director himself) is chosen to go to buy a new one in Paris. Once there, he faces all the trials that befall immigrants, including theft, scams, identity checks, and poorly paid jobs. But he also experiences the solidarity between immigrants who come from the same area. Above all, he finds his niche with a group of hunger-striking sans-papiers in the St Médard church, led by a spokesperson who is quite literally frontally framed each time he speaks. Their violent eviction by the riot police is one of the best moments in an otherwise overtly demonstrative film. Moussa’s relationship with Nathalie, who embodies the « France that refuses » such harassment and police violence, helps him to overcome the various obstacles, until things finally end in drama. This cry of revolt that protests against the situation facing sans-papiers and immigrants in general is much to the credit of a director who is brave enough to tackle such a sensitive subject. Although the supporting roles, which are often highly stereotyped to play on a humoristic note, are not very credible, Moussa surmounts the terrible trials he has to face without going to far astray, helped by a Nathalie he meets by chance, just at the right moment. But his humane depth comes from his optimism, his sense of duty, justice and community. He, like the director, is a tranquil force who is both gentle and determined. His determination echoes that of the sans-papiers fighting for their rights. The film thus conveys a series of messages that need to be heard, and ultimately constitutes both a clear warning to Africans tempted by the European adventure and a sensitive vision of the immigrant situation in France. Given recent political and social events in the land of human rights, this insider African viewpoint sets the records straight and does not leave you indifferent.
2002, 97 min, 35 mm, colour, co-prod. Les Films de l’Alliance (France)/Bako Productions (Guinea), with Cheik Doukouré, Elisabeth Vitali, Mariam Kaba, Suzanne Kouamé. ///Article N° : 5605