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UK: Gala Film Distributors
Cast: Djolof Mbengue, Delphine Zingg, Samir Guesmi, Theophile M Sowie, Bass Dhem, Thierno Ndiaye, Albert Mendy, Bass Dhem, Oumar N'Diaye, Louis Beyler, Josephine Mboub, Seybani Sougou, Gerard Tallet, Eric Franquelin, Sylvia Wels, Alioune Ndiaye, Bruno Lapassatet, Marie-Louise Mendy, Francois-Noel Bing, Odile Goudabiaby, Gery Bouchez, Guy Garçon, Jean-Pierre Gerardin, Axel Kiener, Mohamed Remani, Abdelraman Latrache, Philippe Sessi, Abdoulaye Dia, Abalye Diouf, Laurence Fremont, Jean-Michel Page, Anna Mendy, Emile Abossolo M'bo
Director: Alain Gomis
Countries: France / Senegal
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 90 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language
UK Release Date: 28 November 2003 (Limited Release - wider)
UK Release Date: 14 November 2003 (Limited Release - London)
This is the tale of the coming of age of El Hadj, young Senegalese student living in Paris. He is forced to question his very identity when a problem arises with his immigration papers. He is caught up in a whirlwind of emotions and contradiction, torn between returning to his homeland and staying in the country where he feels at home and has found true love. He is tormented as much by his convictions as by his desires.
What do you do when you feel you are betraying yourself?
The title L'AFRANCE is an amalgamation of France and Africa. It's a place that doesn't exist in reality but is a mixture of memories and hopes which rest purely in the mind. It's a case of Africa becoming reconstituted in France. This is the world which El Hadj, the leading character in the film, inhabits.
In this union of two countries, time and space don't exist. It's a world where everything is possible, a place to dream, somewhere which allows endless possibilities.
L'Afrance is a transitory world where plans are always made to return home be they soon, in five years time or some other time in the future. You can never be allowed to admit that you might actually stay in this place for any length of time. You may be a refugee but you just might come back one day. Believing this makes life easier, more bearable, because you're not really at home. Everyone who comes here is from a different background and has a different story to tell. You're afraid in case you're seen as an outsider, because being seen in this light means that you're also a stranger to yourself. L'Afrance is a private place, one that would not normally be seen.
I want this film to portray something far greater than simply being a story about the people and place where I was born. I want it to be the story about a man, but not just a black man living in a white man's world. He would be quite right to say: "I'm fed up being labelled as 'black', I'm Senegalese". I'm tired of seeing all Africans being lumped together in the eyes of the Western world. I wanted my hero to be fighting his own battle and coming to terms with his problems.
Ultimately, however, this isn't a reactionary film. El Hadj is just a man living in his own mixed up world. Without over-emphasising the point, this is simply a film about one man's struggle with his own insecurities and his determination to overcome all obstacles that are put in his way.
Above all, this is a film that transcends politics and sociology, and deals with emotions.