Atlantics (2019)
February 8, 2020 5:47 PM - Subscribe

In a poor suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another. This ghost story about migration, poverty, love - the first film by a black woman to compete at Cannes - Atlantics is streaming on Netflix.

A strange thing happens on Ada’s wedding night. First things first: she isn’t happy to be there. She’s in love with a guy named Souleiman, a young laborer working construction at a gleaming new tower which stands aloft of Ada and Souleiman’s suburb of Dakar, Senegal, a symbol of financial might that hovers over the lives of people too poor to ever have dealings there—beyond being the people who built it, that is. But Ada isn’t marrying Souleiman—she’s marrying Omar, whose family has money, unlike hers, and to whom her mother advises she speak sweetly, lest he take a second wife and show that other woman favor. Which is way of saying: the family is depending on this. So Ada bites the bullet, or tries. But on her wedding night, that strange thing occurs: a fire. (description from Vanity Fair)
posted by ChuraChura (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This was such an odd, wonderful, poetic little movie. I had no idea it was going to turn ghostly (a pal just said I'd like it) and I loved the first non-ghostly part as it showed me real folks' lives in Dakar. Honestly if it had just stayed a realistic social procedural following the crime of the fire I might even have been happier. But when after an hour the ghosts started showing up I was like, "oh ok, I can do this too." And it delivered on the slow, odd spectral front as well, never losing its heart as a portrait of a sad, angry moment in these lives and deaths. It's so beautifully made, unpretentiously filmed but so lyrical and gorgeous. Can't wait to see what Mati Diop does next.

If folks like this they might also like the underrated Iranian flick "Under the Shadow," which also has a neat mix of social commentary and horror (though much more typically a horror movie than Atlantics).
posted by mediareport at 9:46 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

I thought this was great. As mediareport mentions, even as it veers into a ghost story it never loses its restrained vibe - and it somehow manages to be both haunting and subdued. Highly recommended.
posted by Alex404 at 10:34 AM on February 19 [2 favorites]

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