Academic journal article African Studies Review

Saint-Louis Blues

Academic journal article African Studies Review

Saint-Louis Blues

Article excerpt

Dyana Gaye. Saint-Louis Blues. Original title: Un Transport en Commun. 2009. France and Senegal. French, Wolof, with English subtitles. Africa First: Volume One. 48 min. Focus World, USA. $14.98.

Dyana Gaye, a Franco-Senegalese director who holds a Master's degree in film from Paris 8, has given Senegalese cinema a breath of fresh air with Saint-Louis Blues (Un Transport en Commun, 2009), a musical comedy filled with a charm and humor that recalls early Hollywood musicals, especially the world of the French director Jacques Demy. This fourth short feature by Gaye took first prize in the Muhr Asia Africa Short Films category at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2009, was the Best French Short Film at the Créteil International Women's Film Festival of 2010, and earned the UEMOA Integration Award at FESPACO 2011. Nominated in 2011 to the Césars, this movie now belongs to the collection Africa First, Volume 1 (2011), introducing five new African filmmakers.

At the end of summer, six passengers find themselves at the Dakar bus station boarding a bush-taxi to take them to Saint-Louis, a coastal city in Senegal. The long wait for a seventh passenger to fill the car (and reduce the cost of the trip) provides the material for the first song, in which each imagines the unknown passenger's life and his reasons for not being at the station. At last the taxi takes off without him. Eventually the seventh passenger, a young French student, connects with the rest of the group after the taxi driver's colleague drops him off on the taxi's route. Over the course of the journey, and to the rhythm of songs, the passengers get to know one another's stories, and the reasons each has for traveling.

That same day, a boy, his father, and a young hairdresser are traveling in another car on the road to Saint-Louis. The hairdresser has left Dakar abruptly, without informing her employer-aunt, who, as it turns out, is one of the passengers on the bush-taxi. The fate of all these travelers is knit together in a complex web of crossing paths that will happily, in the end, bring everyone to their destinations.

The film has at its core serious subjects such as separation, exile, death, and the socioeconomic situation in the country, but it frames these between lighter topics such as questions of hair color, weaves, and styles in a Dakar hair salon. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.