Salman Rushdie came better prepared this time. He’s a fan of John Huston in general, but after programming the long-unseen Wise Blood last year for his “great adaptations” series, he turned out not to like the adaptation very much. This one he talked about as if he’d just watched it.

It’s quite a strange movie, and seems profoundly appropriate as a great action/adventure director’s final film. Opens with some friends arriving at a small party hosted by a couple of older women, spends ninety minutes at the party, then a short cab ride home with Anjelica Huston (oscar-winning for her previous John Huston film) and her husband Donal McCann (obviously not a huge film actor, was in Rawhead Rex the previous year, and not even in the lead). She confesses to her husband about a boy who loved her when she was in high school, who loved her with a passion her husband has never known, who died when she left town. And after she falls asleep, he looks out the window, his thoughts in voiceover are the James Joyce story’s celebrated final paragraph.

Ebert has a really wonderful write-up on the film:

The Dead ends in sadness, but it is one of the great romantic films, fearless in its regard for regret and tenderness. John Huston … had an instinctive sympathy for the kindness with which the guests at the Misses Morkan’s party accepted one another’s lives and failings. … Gabriel is the witness to it all. An early shot shows the back of his head, regarding everyone in the room. Later he will see his wife, finally, as the person she really is and always has been. And he will see himself, with his ambitions as a journalist, the bright light of his family, the pride of his aunts, as a paltry fellow resting on unworthy accomplishments. Did these thoughts go through John Huston’s mind as he chose his last film and directed it? How could they not? And if all those sad things were true, then he could at least communicate them with grace and poetry, in a film as quiet and forgiving as the falling snow.

The only actor I recognized (besides Huston, of course) was Colm Meaney in a minor role. Also in the room here Dan O’Herlihy (Buñuel’s Robinson Crusoe), Donal Donnelly (of Richard Lester’s The Knack) as a drunk, Helena Carroll (The Friends of Eddie Coyle) as one of the hostesses (don’t know if she’s the one in charge or the one who sings a song who McCann imagines dead in the final monologue) and Marie Kean (Barry Lyndon’s mother).

A handsome young man with always-perfect hair and a boring, sickly widower father meets a vivacious girl from a turbulent household. And they fall in love, run off together, and it’s perfect. Or it would be, but the movie sticks with them long enough for her to get pregnant, forcing an eventual return to civilization, at which point she makes herself useless, sleeping around while he slaves to make a living and tries to save for their future. It does not end well for the couple. But at least they’ve got their health.

Beautiful, amazing looking film shot by cinematographer Gunnar Fischer, who shot all of Bergman’s most famous films in the 40’s and 50’s. Harriet Anderson would appear in some more Bergman films as well as Dogville and The Day the Clown Cried (really). Harry (Lars Ekborg) wasn’t as excellent as Monika was, and thus was only rewarded with a small role in The Magician.

Released in the States in 1956 as an hour-long edit retitled Monika, the Story of a Bad Girl, which is the version that hit U.S. arthouses like a bomb, shocking people who’d gotten used to boringly chaste homemade product like From Here to Eternity, leading horny adults to start frequenting foreign films, which continued until home video destroyed the trend since now we could see all the bare breasts we wanted at home.

D. Micevic:

It happens near the end of the story, after an idyllic summer between two young lovers, Monika and Harry, has turned sour and they awake from their idealistic dreams to an existence of poverty and acrimony. Monika sits in a café smoking a cigarette, about to bed another lover. The camera closes in on her face—Bergman’s calling card of extreme close-ups during moments of intense personal anguish. Yet, in an instant uncharacteristic of the director, Monika looks directly at the camera as everything surrounding her fades to black. The shot holds for nearly a minute, preventing our escape as Monika stares us down, challenging us to pass judgment on her. It would be easy to scorn her decision, but Bergman provides us with no pedestal from which to condescend. If we are to reprimand her, we must confront her directly. It’s unnerving and brilliant, and this moment alone is worth consideration for anyone even slightly familiar with the director.

Bergman: “I have never made a less complicated film than Summer with Monika. We simply went off and shot it, taking great delight in our freedom.”

This was to be the U.S. premiere with director in attendance until the stupid New York Film Festival stole him away. Still, third U.S. screening ever for a top-shelf auteur’s new Cannes-winning feature ain’t bad for Emory. Too bad they couldn’t drum up more interest – maybe 40 people in attendance. Too bad it played from DVD (in a room with a 35mm projector), also. Atlanta film culture sucks.

When I saw Tropical Malady I fell for the atmosphere (there wasn’t much else to that movie but atmosphere), the sounds, the magic and the jungle. Syndromes and a Century added slow, quizzical camera moves and characters with shifting identities. So this one was the best of both worlds, like a small set of Syndromes characters plopped into Malady’s magical forest, still feeling more like an original vision than a retread.

Boonmee runs a farm in the country, has a personal nurse (an immigrant, possibly illegal, from Laos) to tend to his kidney problems. Jen (sister of B’s late wife) and Tong (a young relative, maybe a nephew) come to visit from the city. It’s a peaceful tour around the farm until Boonmee’s wife Huay materializes at the dinner table, and then his son Boonsong emerges from the forest. Boonsong had been lost to the family for many years, having run into the forest to start a family with the monkey ghosts and apparently become one himself. Of course all this is strange, but only Boonmee realizes his family has returned because he is about to die, so the next day he tries convincing Jen to move to the farm. Finally Huay leads the three (Boonsong has left) into the jungle, and into a giant cave, where she drains her husband’s kidneys one final time. At the funeral Tong is made a temporary monk, but is uncomfortable so he visits Jen’s hotel room where she’s counting gift money with her daughter, and takes Jen out to get some food. But after they get up from the bed and start to leave the room, they also remain on the bed watching TV – a final bonkers scene in case the audience got too complacent after Boonmee’s death.

Unless it happened when I left to use the bathroom, Boonmee never vocally recalled his past lives, but there are unexplained scenes which might refer to them. The movie opens with a cow (NYFF says it’s a water buffalo) snapping its rope and lumbering into the forest, maybe glimpsing a monkey ghost before being retrieved by its keeper. Late in the film there’s a photo montage of soldiers who apparently capture a gorilla. And in the middle there’s a scene with a princess stopping at a waterfall on her way through the forest. She intends a tryst with one of her servants (seemingly not their first) but drives him away, accusing him of loving only her status, not her beauty. Then she peers into the lake and sees herself beautiful beneath the water, wades in, dropping all her jewelry, and has sex with a flattering catfish. Was Boonmee the catfish? Did his hookup with the princess provide the bad karma that led to his kidney ailment?

I knew I recognized Tong, but didn’t realize he played the monk in Syndromes and a Century. That’s interesting, since he’s play-acting as a monk in this movie. He was supposed to only stay a few days but ditched on the first night, showering and changing into his street clothes at Jen’s place. In Syndromes, the monk wanted to be a DJ, and denied another character’s story of reincarnation. Before that, the same actor played a character named Tong in Tropical Malady – a definite thread through Weerasethakul’s last three features, even if recognizing that thread doesn’t clear up any of their mysteries.

Watched again summer 2011 with Jimmy, this time on handsome 35mm at Cinefest – lovely! I’m sure that photo montage with the soldiers/gorilla and the incongruent voiceover is important, given that it comes right before (or during) Boonmee’s death, but still can’t figure what it means.

A.W. says that parts (the cheap gorilla suit?) were inspired by classic Thai TV and cinema, that his father died of kidney failure, and that there are plenty of deleted scenes with the princess that he hopes will be on the DVD.

Rare 16mm print from Emory’s own collection. I was wary when the first word onscreen read “Strring,” but the subtitles turned out to be good.

Chin has frizzy hair, large glasses, has been dating round-headed fabric-store worker Lon since high school and they don’t seem very close anymore. Also they wear bad suits in every scene. Chin works assisting Ms. Mei, is getting a raise in her first scene at work, and the company is getting bought out (due to financial ruin from a 10 cm surveying error) in the next.

Her boyfriend Lon seems depressed, trades videotapes of baseball games with his former coach Mr. Lai. Lon’s ex Gwan is getting divorced, and Chin’s coworker Ko, also getting divorced, wants to hang out with Chin. Chin’s dad is inappropriate (and a financial mess, and former abuser), mom is evasive and withdrawn, and sister lives in a graffiti-laden high-rise (prominently scrawled: “Duran take youself”) with other kids. Lon runs into Kim, a cabbie friend with a flake wife and three unattended kids.

As the movie progresses (takes place over a few months), more and more money problems and relationship problems are revealed and intensified, not just from our central couple but everybody. The mood is occasionally lightened with a few jokes or some laughable 80’s fashion but there’s an air of constant unease. Things start to go bad when Lon gets into a bar brawl (to a Michael Jackson song, which may account for the movie’s unavailability on video), then Chin throws him out after he sees his ex, who is visiting from Tokyo.

Chin is being stalked by ex-coworker Ko at this point, and I wish I’d paid more attention to what he looked like, then maybe I’d be sure if he’s the one who stabs Lon to death at the end. Of Yang’s films I’ve only seen this, A Brighter Summer Day and Yi Yi, and each ends with a death. “Once it’s over, forget it. Understand?,” Lon says to the motorcycling assailant, who then follows Lon’s cab until the inevitable confrontation. Movie gets slightly metaphysical there at the end – he has a dying dream sequence reflected in an unplugged television, then it cuts from Lon, smoking, to the smoke above his head – beautifully done. Back to Chin, still unaware of her boyfriend’s fate, who is finally getting her job back, meeting her ex-and-future boss Ms. Mei in an empty, white office building, recalling the empty white apartment the couple was about to rent in the first scene.

Articles online mention visual distancing effects: characters peering through blinds, shots through mirrors, Chin’s ever-present sunglasses, one interaction shown only with shadows on a wall. They also mention Lon’s fantasies of playing baseball when he was younger, which I’d thought would be a bigger deal than it was. From skimming a couple articles I figured he’d be like the insufferable skateboard-head-injury guy in Little Children, but it’s more of a gently aimless pre-middle-aged malaise.

There’s a karaoke bar, but nothing that stands out as much as the karaoke scene in A Brighter Summer Day – better is a dance club where the power goes out in the middle of “Footloose” as Chin sits alone in the corner.

Written by Yang, Hou and T’ien-wen Chu (cowriter of Three Times, among others) and shot by Wei-han Yang, who worked with Yang again on Yi Yi but nothing in between.

Lead actress Chin Tsai married the director, was in a Stanley Kwan movie the following year which sounds pretty good, then nothing else. Hou Hsiao-hsien (Lon) was already a writer/director – his A Time to Live and a Time to Die came out the same year. Nien-Jen Wu (cabbie Kim) and I-Chen Ko (was he the stalker?) were also writer/directors… it’s an accomplished cast.

Update from shinbowi3 on twitter: the film’s original title “literally translates as Pure Plum and Bamboo Horse. This is a chinese phrase that colloquially describes a love born from childhood friendship. This title frames the film as more personal and I LOVE IT.”

Seems like a semi-remake of A Very Long Engagement. There’s a specific scene where Veronika says if she can count to fifty before the postman arrives at the door she’ll get a letter from Boris. Then there’s the overall story, a woman looking for her man who went to war, not even stopping after she hears that he’s died. Jeunet gave his film a happy ending, but Russia in the 50’s was still mourning the millions killed a decade earlier. So, not a simply fairy tale, Veronika does not get a letter from her Boris, because he did die in the war.

It opens with the two lovers happy together, and ends with her alone, smiling but heartbroken, handing out flowers to returning soldiers. In between it’s mostly her story. She loses her family in a bombing raid and stays with Boris’s parents, then is soon coerced into marrying his brother who dodged the war. Very impressively (for 1957) mobile camera, with always excellent, careful framing, none of the indifferent framing that characterizes most handheld today (ugh, I hate saying things like that). It seems like every shot in this film has more than one purpose, making the simple close-ups that much more powerful. No surprise that the director and cinematographer went on to make the great I Am Cuba, or that this won the golden palm (over Bergman, Satyajit Ray and Mon Oncle)

C. Fujiwara for Criterion:

The film is also exceptional in refusing to condemn Veronica for her involuntary infidelity to Boris while he is at the front. In Tatiana Samoilova, The Cranes Are Flying unveiled a magnificent screen personality: expressive, sexy, dynamic. Veronica is far from a traditional war-movie heroine (not only by the standard of Soviet war movies), and Feodor’s impassioned denunciation of faithless women is clearly meant to be taken as more than just the party line, but Samoilova makes her character completely sympathetic, down to her bittersweet apotheosis in the moving final sequence. The Georgian-born Kalatozov, who began his directing career in the silent era, spent several years in Los Angeles during the war on a diplomatic assignment, and seems to have been marked by Hollywood cinema. In The Cranes Are Flying, he treats melodrama with a formal complexity worthy of Frank Borzage, King Vidor, and Vincente Minnelli – finding, with no fear of excess, potent visual correlatives to emotional states.

There’s a reason why this is the first Kurosawa movie on this site (and therefore the first I’ve watched in almost four years). After excitedly renting The Hidden Fortress, which I didn’t like, and Ikiru, which I did, I decided Akira was overrated and instead focused my attentions on Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation). Lately I’ve been greatly enjoying celebrated studio auteurs like John Ford, who make slow-paced movies without any spider-people, doppelgangers, magic trees, computer-virus apocalypses or killer jellyfish at all, so maybe it’s time to revisit A.K.

IMDB plot:

Murukami, a young homicide detective, has his pocket picked on a bus and loses his pistol. Frantic and ashamed, he dashes about trying to recover the weapon without success until taken under the wing of an older and wiser detective, Sato. Together they track the culprit.

A.K. follows his protagonist around the city, meeting shady characters in seedy parts of town, taking the camera out of the studio and bringing it along, influenced by the incompatible styles of film noir and neorealism. It’s a similar approach to The Naked City, and in a similar timeframe. I’d say Naked City was more successfully scenic, showed better city views, but Kurosawa did more with his less-than-stellar scenery. His mastery of camerawork, if not of pacing, shows up here.

At least the title character, the “stray dog”, is clearer than in The Thin Man – it’s Yusa, a small-time thief turned murderer with the help of detective Murakami’s pilfered pistol. The point is made again and again that Y. & M. came from similar backgrounds and befell similar fates until M. turned cop and Y. turned robber, leading to a climax of the two men fighting in the mud, dirty and interchangeable (not really, since Y. is wearing an unmistakable white suit by then). The other parallel is between M. as idealistic young cop with the weight of the world on his shoulders and elder cop Sato, with his burned-out black-and-white view of humanity. None of this is anything new by 2010 standards, but it may have seem fresh in ’49, and Kurosawa presents the ideas as if they’ve just occurred to him. By the end I couldn’t keep up my “ho-hum, Kurosawa” stance, was hooked by the style and story of the final third, featuring cross-cutting between Murakami’s bizarre interrogation of Yusa’s girl Harumi (with her mother in the room trying to help the cop) and Sato tracking down the killer in a hotel, as the oppressive heat of the last few days broke into a rainstorm.

Thanks to Emory for showing this on 35mm, though it features the kind of harsh, blaring music that always sounds better softened by my TV or laptop speakers than it does cranked loudly in a theater. Only the 7th listed film with superstar Toshiro Mifune (Murakami). Elder cop Takashi Shimura, with his giant Edward G. Robinson lips, was in 200+ films from Mizoguchi’s 1936 Osaka Elegy to Kurosawa’s 1980 Kagemusha, with some Zatoichi and Godzilla films thrown in, plus Kwaidan, Life of Oharu, and the lead role in Ikiru. Stolen-gun-toting Yusa is Isao Kimura in his first film – he’d appear in a bunch of Kurosawa films, the Miyamoto Musashi trilogy, Naruse’s Summer Clouds and Fukusaku’s Black Lizard. Harumi, Keiko Awaji, was in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, and her mother Eiko Miyoshi would play scores of mothers in Japanese films, finally a grandmother in Ozu’s Good Morning. Movie was remade in cinemascope in the 70’s with the stars of Tokyo Drifter and Red Angel. I tried to draw comparisons with the missing-police-gun stories in Magnolia and The Wire but could not manage to do so.

C. Fujiwara:

Through the constant unfurling of interposed surfaces (multiple superimposed images, the strips of mesh and garlands down which the camera cranes at the Wellesian Blue Bird club), Kurosawa evokes a world in perpetual motion.

The sequence in Stray Dog in which Murakami goes undercover in the streets of Tokyo to look for the gun lasts slightly over nine minutes—much longer than necessary to advance the plot and convey that his search goes on for some time. The feeling of excessive length comes from the lack, or the randomness, of variation: the viewer’s main impression is the ever-dawning awareness that the sequence has nothing new to give. Kurosawa’s intention is to heighten our identification with Murakami as he slogs through the lower depths. By immersing us in the world’s chaos so thoroughly, the director makes us rely all the more on Murakami’s obsession as a potential source of meaning and order, while at the same time showing how inadequate it is to pose the problem of this chaos in the specific terms of a missing gun.

T. Rafferty:

Murakami poses as a down-and-out veteran, which turns out to be an uncomfortably thin disguise: he is a veteran of the recent war, and as he wanders through the ravaged city, in an elaborate montage sequence, we sense that he’s experiencing a life he might have led—that these mean streets are, for him, a collective image of the road not taken. That sequence, which incorporates a fair amount of documentary footage shot by Kurosawa’s assistant Ishiro Honda (later famous as the director of Godzilla and Rodan), is much longer than it needs to be, but it’s the key passage in Stray Dog because it sets in motion the film’s real story: Murakami’s growing identification with the man who now possesses his gun.

While it was great to see this on the big screen, to laugh with an audience at va-va-voom Nick the mechanic and watch everyone jump from shock when Mike Hammer cracks open the Pulp Fiction suitcase and hell peeks out, it’s kinda still not a great movie. Filmed as a cheap quickie and looks like it, the bulk of the plot is Mike following one lead to another to another – and as Josh pointed out, you could delete any one (or all) of those chain links without harming the overall plot structure. What’s important is Mike starts out getting mixed up with a dame in trouble, she is killed and he’s presumed dead, then he tracks down her story finally leading to a bad man with a case of nuclear material which explodes, destroying a beach house reminiscent of the one in Lost Highway. And while we’re on the subject of films influenced by this one, I recognized scenes and locations excerpted in Los Angeles Plays Itself.

Wes Addy and Ralph Meeker:

Ralph Meeker who, two years later, would appear in movies by Fuller (Run of the Arrow) and Kubrick (Paths of Glory), was so badass in this movie, the Feds declared it to be 1955’s number one menace to American youth. Badassery is all relative, of course, and he’d soon be out-badassed since the production code was in decline. Hammer and his main squeeze/work partner Velda (Maxine Cooper, of nothing else) are sleazy divorce investigators/instigators until Mike picks up doomed girl Christina (Cloris Leachman, whose career seems to defy summary) on the highway. She’s recaptured by the baddies and tortured to death, then blown up in Mike’s car with Mike, who survives with revenge on his mind. Right away Mike’s in trouble with his cop buddy Pat (Aldrich regular Wesley Addy) who pulls his gun license, and with two thugs (Jack Lambert, who played a bully with a whip in Stars In My Crown, and the great Jack Elam of Moonfleet the same year as this) who work for the evil doctor (Albert Dekker of Siodmak’s The Killers, unseen besides his shoes till the very end). Mike enlists his mechanic Nick (Nick Dennis of Too Late Blues, A Streetcar Named Desire), who gets a car dropped on him by baddies, Velda, who saves Mike’s ass at the end (unless you watched the original ending in which they appear to die in the beach house explosion) and the dead girl’s roommate Gabrielle (TV actress Gaby Rodgers) who turns out to be a baddie spy.

Nympho Marian Carr (Ring of Fear) and bad dude Paul Stewart (Citizen Kane, In Cold Blood):

My favorite thing about the movie is the strangeness of the beginning and end scenes. The nuclear-material-in-a-suitcase factor is most interesting for being so mysteriously underdeveloped, giving the movie a sense of richness that the main investigation plot lacks. With the sound effects and flickering lights at the finale, it acts more like a portal to another world than a physical material. Also great is the shock opening, with a girl running in the night, breathing heavy on the soundtrack before being picked up by Mike, the credits rolling upside-down across the screen.


Only other Aldrich movie I’ve seen (besides Limelight, on which he assisted) is Twilight’s Last Gleaming from the other end of his career. Written by A.I. Bezzerides (Thieves’ Highway, Track of the Cat) and shot by Ernest Laszlo (While the City Sleeps, Stalag 17).


I’m glad I got to see this in a theater, since I don’t know if I could’ve sit still for it on video. Also fun to observe the number of walkouts, probably from the half of the audience who hadn’t read the description beforehand and gasped loudly when Andy mentioned its 3.5-hour length in his introduction (AKA the half that wasn’t receiving class credit for attendance). But surprisingly I didn’t like it very much, never got the sense that all the elements (formalist experiment + weight of duration + story or lack thereof + static, careful camera compositions + subtle lead performance) congealed into a singular, great experience.

So, as I already knew, the film portrays Jeanne going about her routine for three days: making coffee, awakening her son and sending him to school, shopping, sleeping with some guy, making dinner, eating with her son, going to bed. Towards the second half her routine isn’t going as smoothly. Potatoes are overcooked. She walks into the wrong room. She can’t comfort the infant she watches while her neighbor shops. Then on the third day she stabs her guy to death with scissors. I’m still thinking about language since watching Pontypool. IMDB and Criterion descriptions say she “turns the occasional trick,” but most viewer descriptions outright call her “a prostitute.”

Delphine Seyrig was already a star (see: Last Year at Marienbad) and would remain one. Jan Decorte (her son) would only be in one more film (also by Akerman). The first two (non-murdered) men are both directors, the middle being Jacques Doniol-Valcroze. He played Etienne, whose letters get stolen and ransomed, in Out 1.

I. Magulies:

The perfect parity between Jeanne’s predictable schedule and Akerman’s minimalist precision deflects our attention from the fleeting signs of Jeanne’s afternoon prostitution. They nevertheless loom at the edge of our mind, gradually building unease. Jeanne Dielman constitutes a radical experiment with being undramatic, and paradoxically with the absolute necessity of drama.

Helping explain the movie’s feminist reputation:

Aunt Fernande, Jeanne’s sister, living in Canada, only appears in the form of a letter, read in litanylike monotone by Jeanne to her son; the neighbor, heard by the door (and played by Akerman herself), describes how, shopping for her husband’s dinner, and still undecided, she ended up getting the same expensive cut of meat as the person in front of her on line. Never casual, each of the film’s uniquely strange and long-winded monologues expresses some form of gendered pressure: they refer to Jeanne’s marriage, the son’s Oedipal thoughts, each breathing a sexual anxiety, each a drawn-out, wordy attempt to mitigate the “other scene” we never see, the elided afternoon trysts.

Firstly, the “Ceddo” are the outsider townspeople. Took me half the movie to figure that one out. The town is converting to muslim, and the local imam is becoming more powerful than the king. A small group of traditionalist men kidnap the princess to protest the forced religious conversion. Meanwhile, a white christian missionary is looking for followers but is not doing so well.

While the king and imam disagree over how to proceed and the imam’s men plot to overthrow the throne, three younger men – the king’s potential successors and the princess’s potential husbands, depending which rules you follow – aim to rescue the princess, bringing guns to a bow-and-arrow party. Biram is kind of a compromise choice between mirror-wearing king-loyalist Saxewar and committed muslim Fall, but Biram is easily killed by an arrow. Saxewar goes next, dies stabbed through the throat by the kidnapper. Fall becomes suspicious of the imam and renounces his position, and finally the imam carries through his threat of deposing the king (who dies offscreen) and has the lead kidnapper killed, freeing the princess. She marches right back into town, grabs a rifle and blows away the imam herself. Damn, Sembene was good with endings.


Much of the story revolves around slavery. A white trader is in town accepting slaves in exchange for wine and guns, so Ceddo are trading members of their own families for guns to fight the muslims. One reason people are converting to islam in the first place is because law prohibits children who are born muslim to become slaves, so if young adults convert, they might still become slaves but their children will be born free. The christian missionary has no such promise, and at most manages to collect one follower, or at least a curious onlooker to the white man’s sermon. This leads to a wonderful dream sequence, a large modern (as opposed to the no-specific-year historical period of the rest of the film) crowd is gathered as this new guy reads a memorial service for the white priest, seen in a coffin… dreams of a successor, unfulfilled, as the christian is killed unceremoniously later in the movie.


Watched this from a very good print with strong color rented from recently-folded New Yorker Films – we were warned that this may be the last screening of this particular film for a long time. This was made two years after Xala – seems that this is the turning-point film for me in Sembene’s career, since I’ve enjoyed this one and everything after it (Guelwaar, Faat Kiné, Moolaadé) more than everything before it (Xala, Emitai, Black Girl). Can’t put my finger on why I like the later ones more… better color, stronger characters, easier-to-follow narratives? I don’t know why I like movies, but this one was damn amazing. We’ll see how unseen early film Mandabi and late Camp de Thiaroye hold up.

The princess appeared 20+ years later in Faat Kiné, and Prince Biram played an interpreter in Coup de torchon

We were always looking for the camera’s reflection in Saxewar’s mirror:

From the valuable article by J. Leahy at Senses of Cinema:

Sembène goes so far as to articulate something completely ignored in the discourse of the male protagonists of the village’s internal war: the desire of this strong, silent, beautiful young woman. This is revealed in what I read as a subjective flashforward to a possible future, similar to that of the priest. It is characteristic of the complexity of Sembène’s analysis of the interaction between the individual, history and traditional practice that this shows her married to her kidnapper and finding happiness in the role of a traditional wife serving her husband. Others have read this as flashback to their first encounter. Even if this is so, the moment remains equally evocative in terms of the possibilities it suggests.